A Conversation About Transitioning Employees Back to the Office

In the most recent episode of the EE Voice podcast, Consultants Collective member consultant Sharon McIntosh and co-host  Sharon Phillips welcome Kristen Garvey, VP of corporate communication at Waters Corporation, a specialty measurement company focused on improving human health and well-being through the application of high-value analytical technologies and scientific expertise.

In their conversation, Kristen expresses the gratitude she feels for her team and notes that she has never received more emails of thanks for the transparency Waters achieved than she did over the past year and a half — so we are incredibly fortunate to have her perspective as we all strive for transparency and trust through this next phase of the pandemic. We hear from Kristen about the common global return-to-workplace framework the company uses for decision-making, both to ensure decisions are made with consistency and to empower local teams to make decisions quickly. Created by a scientific advisory council, the framework looks at three things: local and global infection rates, site-specific vaccination rates and local government guidelines.

“We’ve been able to help employees understand the framework for how we as a company are going to make decisions,” Kristen says. “Even though it might look very different at our site in the UK or here in the US, people have a common understanding of how decisions are made and that helps give them confidence and trust in the overall process.”

She shares the Waters Corporation’s approach to measuring their communications strategies, using both leading and lagging indicators, and following through on the results to be sure employees have trust, clarity and confidence. The approach enables the communications team to adjust strategy and ensure they are communicating the right information at the right time.

Tune in to hear more of Kristen’s excellent, concrete advice, from holding popup communications meetings with managers to structuring the return to work so that management experiences the transition first. Listen here >

Sharon McIntosh

Sharon McIntosh is a senior advisor for Consultants Collective as well as the president of And Then Communications. With more than two decades of communications experience, she has a passion for creating and executing new ideas to drive employee engagement at Fortune 500 companies. Now she’s turning her attention to helping other organizations great and small do the same. Her clients have included United Technologies, Otis Elevator, Toyota, Intercontinental Hotel Group, AbbVie, TEGNA media and AppSpace, among others. Most recently she served as PepsiCo’s vice president of Global Internal Communications, overseeing the company’s efforts to connect with its more than 274,000 employees worldwide. She and her team launched a number of innovative employee initiatives, including the company’s first social media training (SMART U), a social tool to share internal news externally and PepsiCo’s award-winning employee ambassador program. Before joining PepsiCo in 2004, Sharon spent seven years at Sears. Among her greatest contributions there, she launched a marketing strategy for all life events, ran user experience for the company’s e-commerce site and introduced the company’s first intranet. Prior to Sears, she worked at Waste Management, publishing more than 14 annual reports for various business units, managing shareholder meetings, drafting senior executive speeches and handling media relations.

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