When Brexit was announced, internal comms teams had to be on their feet and make sure they communicated with worried employees.
But now, on the other side of the pond, the US is dealing with a much more controversial issue – Trump’s immigration halt.
Banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US, companies have had to not only comfort scared – or reassure angry – employees, but make a stand and be an employer worth working for.
While companies usually tend to hide from the turbulent world of politics, not wanting to side with or anger employees and customers, Trump’s immigration ban has forced them to speak out. A huge number of companies have taken a stance, from Facebook and Google to Airbnb and Etsy – and they’re determined to make a difference.
“Nike believes in a world where everyone celebrates the power of diversity.
“Regardless of whether or how you worship, where you come from or who you love, everyone’s individual experience is what makes us stronger as a whole.
“Those values are being threatened. This is a policy we don’t support.
“We will do everything in our power to ensure the safety of every member of our family: our colleagues, our athletes and their loved ones.”
These are extracts from a rare political email to employees from Nike CEO Mark Parker. He then drew upon those impacted, including sponsored British athlete Mo Farah, who was originally born in Somalia and now lives in Ethiopia, who shared a statement about his concerns and how it personally affects him.
Nike’s values focus on fair play and an even playing field. While there’s no statement of action in this email, it provides its people and athletes with reassurance that Nike won’t be sacrificing its morals to please the President.
Nike CEO Mark Parker sends rare political email to employees tonight, condemning POTUS travel ban. “This is a policy we don’t support.” pic.twitter.com/I9w48WA7e8
— Sara Germano (@germanotes) January 30, 2017
Jeff Bezos and Trump have famously never seen eye-to-eye.
Back before he won Presidency, Trump tweeted: “[Bezos] wants political influence so that Amazon will benefit from it. That’s not right. And believe me, if I become president, oh, do they have problems.”
Despite extending the olive branch when Trump emerged victorious last year, it seems Bezos can’t let this one slide.
Following the announcement of the travel ban, Bezos first told employees in an internal email: “From the very beginning, Amazon has been committed to equal rights, tolerance and diversity—and we always will be. As we’ve grown the company, we’ve worked hard to attract talented people from all over the world, and we believe this is one of the things that makes Amazon great—a diverse workforce helps us build better products for customers.”
And a few days later, Bezos pledged the full legal resources of his company to fight the travel ban – with Amazon being the largest online retailer in the world, this is no small order.
He said in an email: “We reached out to congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle to explore legislative options. Our legal team has prepared a declaration of support for the Washington State Attorney General who will be filing suit against the order. We are working other legal options as well.”
Amazon operates in more than 30 countries and has a huge workforce. By using his power to make a stand, Bezos will gain the trust of his employees and has set the tone for how other major organisations should stand up for their employees.
New York City taxi drivers went on strike to show their solidarity to those affected by the travel ban, refusing to pick up passengers from JFK airport.
However, Uber became subject to online backlash when it decided to continue operating and turned off surge pricing (where rates are automatically raised due to demand) – which the public saw as Uber as taking the opportunity to make a tidy profit.
#DeleteUber trended on Twitter and hundreds deleted the app.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick – one of Trump’s chosen economic advisors – is keen to work alongside Trump and, in a meeting, told employees: “We’ll partner with anyone in the world as long they’re about making transportation in cities better, creating job opportunities, making it easier to get around, getting pollution out of the air and traffic off the streets.”
While he considers pollution and job opportunities, Kalanick’s statement lacks a nod towards human rights and a focus on looking after his drivers.
In an attempt to put his company back in the public’s good books, Kalanick tweeted he was against the ban and had set up a $3million legal defence fund for those affected.
— travis kalanick (@travisk) January 29, 2017