The Hinge Research Institute (HRI) has released a special breakout report from their forthcoming Employer Branding Study titled How Professional Services Firms Are Responding to the COVID-19 Disruption. The special report explores how satisfied professional services employees are with their firm’s response to COVID-19. The results? Not great.

The report, which captures the perspectives of 217 employees from over 200 professional services firms between March 20th-31st, 2020, reveals that 53.4% of respondents are dissatisfied with their employers’ crisis response.

Respondents rated their current employer’s response to COVID-19 on a scale of 1 to 10.  Those who indicated at least some degree of dissatisfaction cited their firm’s not having a plan (56%) and poor communication (25%) as areas to avoid. As one respondent explained, “It took a while for the firm to comment on the situation internally… They were very slow to allow the work from home option until someone tested positive.”

Among respondents with positive sentiments toward their firm’s crisis response, 36% indicated their remote working capability prepared their firm for large-scale telework in response to stay-at-home orders; 23% lauded their firm’s proactive, decisive measures; and 15% said that their employers clearly communicated plans to team members. One respondent from an engineering firm wrote, “[M]y company acted early and was able to get ahead… [they have] taken the stance of preparing for the worst.”

“Our research over the last several years has consistently shown that a growing number of professional service firm employees want flextime and telework options to achieve better work-life balance,” said Lee Frederiksen, Managing Partner of Hinge. “The professional services are built on people marshaling their expertise wherever their clients are. Firms that offered telework perks before the pandemic have been quicker to scale up remote working in response to shutdowns. However, firms that haven’t prepared a crisis response plan are going to be slower to adapt to emergencies like this one, even if they already offer a  telework option.”

At this time, the COVID-19 situation remains prevalent. With no clear end in sight, professional services firms will need to find ways to navigate the days ahead in a way that prioritizes their people.

Do you want to add your perspective to the conversation? You can participate in the Employer Branding Study here.


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