How will the Supreme Court’s decision on Trump’s travel ban affect retailers?
The Supreme Court’s decision to allow parts of the Trump administration’s travel ban to go into effect for foreign nationals who lack any “bona fide relationship with any person or entity in the United States” will impact retailers.
When the travel ban was announced earlier this year, it created a worldwide uncertainty that was palpable. Interestingly, employee communications and engagement were the source of much of the media surrounding the topic. Taking center stage, senior executives from Ford, Google, Apple, Facebook, Nike, Coca-Cola, and others made public statements to their employees.
Uncertainty brought into the workplace threatens to ruin the best corporate cultures and workplace diversity. Apple CEO, Tim Cook, led the charge when the travel ban was first released. He published a public letter to employees announcing that each of the potentially impacted employees would receive assistance from Apple’s HR, legal, and security teams. Cook also reached out to the White House in defense of his team, but what stands out is that he also took the opportunity to reinforce his corporate culture.
Mr. Cook sent an email to all Apple employees worldwide, part of which stated: “… And if there’s one thing I know about the people at Apple, it’s the depth of our empathy and support for one another. It’s as important now as it’s ever been, and it will not weaken one bit. I know I can count on all of you to make sure everyone at Apple feels welcome, respected, and valued.”
Corporate culture is more important now than ever. Gallup polls show that a mere 32 percent of employees are engaged within their organizations. This leaves most of the workforce uninformed and uncertain.
Starbucks also joined the ever-growing ranks of corporations acting to protect its workers. It launched an Immigration Advisor Program in partnership with Ernst & Young for immigration advice.
In the case of each of the mega-organizations listed above, statements of solidarity are headline news. Their messages were disseminated to the masses and employees with email addresses, but what about non-desk workers without corporate email addresses like many of those in retail working on the floor?
Eighty percent of the global workforce isn’t sitting at a desk or given computers when they’re onboarded. Retail and other industries have distributed workforces without many internal communication options. This makes sending company-wide messages especially difficult. And unfortunately, it is this worker segment that is potentially the most affected and needing to hear messages of solidarity from corporate leaders.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What are retailers doing to make sure their organizations feel connected and informed during these turbulent times? How can retailers protect their corporate culture? How important is internal communication in times like these?