Before Election Day, PR agencies, like many businesses, were more than willing to give their employees flexibility or time off to vote or work at the polls. Now that the voting is over, they’re dealing with the emotional aftermath.
Here’s what agency leaders have been telling sleep-deprived employees with Tuesday’s results still up in the air.
In an email to the agency’s senior leadership team, MSL executive director of talent strategy Mark Zangrilli asked leaders to remind employees about the Publicis Groupe firm’s nonpartisan civic efforts to avoid spreading misinformation.
“Check on your team. Have an open dialogue with your direct reports. Ask them how they are doing, etc. Acknowledge uncertainty but assure employees that there’s a plan for the way forward and most elections are not called or confirmed in one day. Foster respectful discussions. Remind employees again to respect opposing points of view — among both peers and clients. Should a politically charged conversation ensue, refer back to MSL’s nonpartisan civic engagement efforts. We are all leaders of teams and it is important that we show up for them. But let’s not also forget we are dealing with the same questions and ambiguity, so let’s please be there for each other as well.”
— Mark Zangrilli, executive director of talent strategy
Diffusion encouraged staff to avoid meetings the day after the election, and management started Wednesday by acknowledging that times are tough for many, so employees should take the time and space that they need. Agency leaders also told staffers about available resources to navigate stress.
“We blocked off an hour for an all-team (virtual) lunch so people have a safe space to get together and discuss after settling into where we are. To kick off the lunch, we donated to the Michigan Animal Rescue League, and will be joined by some shelter dogs to hopefully bring some light to the day for everyone.”
— Tim Williams, senior campaign director
“We anticipated having no results yet, so we cleared the morning meetings so people can settle back in and have the team doing a community guided meditation by Brown University at noon. We also shared resources on how to deal with anxiety. Our goal is to help [employees] focus on what they can control.”
— Founder Cat Colella-Graham
“The most thoughtful strategic communicators [were] listening this morning. It is critical to understand client as well as teammate concerns as we work together to identify ideas and opportunities to engage. Achieving this position begins with understanding viewpoints via active listening.”
— Dan Rene, managing director
“We’ve been focusing on wellness. From meditation sessions to yoga and offering staff time off to focus on mental health!”
— Rosalind Batheja, director of operations and new business
“I updated my team on the cannabis and psychedelic legislation that passed state-by-state, and what it means for our clients, our industry and our agency.”
— Lisa Weser, founder