Weber Shandwick’s United Minds launches workforce re-entry practice

The specialty will also draw from Weber and Powell Tate, as well as outside advisers.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

NEW YORK: United Minds, Weber Shandwick’s management consulting group, has started a practice to help companies bring employees back to the workplace.

Kate Bullinger, president of United Minds, is leading the workforce re-entry specialty, which was formalized on Monday. 

Its purpose is to help chief communications officers, top HR executives and pandemic response teams to reintegrate employees into the workplace as businesses recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We have been very involved with clients in the initial phase of their reactions to the crisis,” Bullinger said. “We knew that clients, after the initial phase of working remotely and getting accustomed to that, were going to start thinking about this.”

The offering will help companies address issues such as leadership alignment, safety and well-being counsel, employee activism preparedness and workplace design, the firm said in a statement. 

“A lot of things need some thinking-through when it comes to logistics, and the challenges, and questions need to be answered before the workplace can be set up,” Bullinger explained. “One important issue is the impact on employment from an anxiety and mental wellness standpoint. It’s been discussed a little in regards to the virtual workplace, but people are coming back to the office and not knowing what might come next, and that’s very stressful.”

United Minds will lead the offering and advise clients on employee engagement and organizational change. However, the practice will also draw from Weber for corporate and crisis communications, Element Scientific Communications for science-based comms strategy and Powell Tate for public affairs. 

The specialty will also use an outside team of advisers, including Dr. Mike Merson, professor of global health at Duke University; Dr. Leo Flanagan, president and founder of the Center for Resilience; and Alison Quirk, former chief human relations officer at State Street.

“Re-entry is not going to be a one-time thing,” said Bullinger. “Experts have said there are likely going to be additional waves of disruption at work, and not everyone will be going back to work at the same time.”

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