Communicating Around Derek Chauvin’s Trial

In a landmark trial, a jury is currently deliberating in the case against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin over the death of George Floyd that sparked civil rights protests around the world last summer. 

Many organizations also spoke out last year in the wake of Floyd’s death and may be considering whether to weigh in with a response to the verdict. However, this may be a better moment for organizations to be considering what they are doing besides what they are saying.

Companies should assess whether their corporate behavior reflects their stated values and gives them credibility to comment. Take into consideration that the trial outcome at its core is about criminal justice and police reform, and that those companies which do not have a track record of advocacy in these areas, nor any plans of doing so going forward, might refrain from speaking out at this moment.

Companies that announced commitments last summer will likely be called upon to communicate their progress to stakeholders. They should consider engaging internal audiences in late May/June, which marks one year since Floyd’s death and the commitments that many organizations made to address systemic racism.

Organizations should keep their focus on: 

  • Employee well-being first, with space for dialogue within the workplace and time away from meetings and deliverables to allow affected individuals to focus on their own processing and mental health.
  • Clarifying the company’s values through tangible examples of how it turned its commitments into action.
  • Building trust with stakeholders.