Publicis Groupe’s CEO Arthur Sadoun pledged on Sunday to pay for employees to be reunited with their families if they are not based nearby. He also announced that budgets for freelancers and other outsourced work are being cut in a bid to control costs during the pandemic.
“In this moment, we care not only about the health, but also the well-being of our people, Sadoun said in a video message sent globally to the company’s 80,000-plus workforce on Sunday. Currently 95% of the Groupe is working remotely.
“Do not go outside,” he emphatically stated. “Stay home.” However for those people currently working in locations that are not “home,” the Groupe has created a new program to underwrite the cost for those employees to return to be with their families. “Publicis will pay for your ticket if you want to come back to see and be near your family,” Sadoun said.
In the nearly eight-minute video, Sadoun delves into details of the earlier initiatives announced last week in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic. “As you can imagine, we have two priorities right now: the health and wellness of our people, and our client commitments,” he explains.
The Groupe held ten 90-minute interactive video conference calls last Thursday and Friday, to brief and field questions from 3,000 managers. Sadoun intends to hold additional sessions every two weeks. “Now more than ever we need to keep communication flowing,” he says.
To help control costs the Groupe is foregoing working with freelancers or third parties for the foreseeable future. “Everything you need is found within our company,” Sadoun said in the video. With the Groupe’s “Power of One” country model there are no P&L silos between agencies providing the ability to move employees from one agency to another depending on local needs. “It is time to activate all of our resources,” he said.
Sadoun confirmed that some of its agencies in China are reopening offices. In other marketers Groupe teams are continuing to work with clients and pitch for new clients by videoconference.