What We’ve Learned So Far:
10 Key Insights for Thriving During a Pandemic

Jun 3, 2020 |
mins Read

Over the last few months, we’ve all learned a lot about overcoming the perils and pitfalls of a global pandemic. Now, as we transition from our early-crisis response and begin to reimagine what comes next, it’s worth reflecting on lessons learned—and how they can help us build a more resilient future.

What Happens After COVID-19? Glimpses of Tomorrow’s Workforce Today

Kate Duchene, CEO
“The workplace of the future isn’t about the rigid inflexibility of either/or. It’s about the agile flexibility of this/and. By offering the traditional on-premises office environment—plus—many other options that suit individuals’ needs, we can help people flourish in environments that best suit them so it’s win-win for talent and company alike.

The timing is also auspicious. We’re now at a demographic and technological inflection point where workforce flexibility is not only demanded more than ever, it can also be supplied more than ever: faster, cheaper, and more efficiently.”

Responding to Crisis with Agility & Resilience

“Sometimes, the biggest risk is not having enough imagination when considering the scenarios your organization might have to contend with. Many organizations tend to focus on the risks that are most likely, with the largest impacts, and create mitigation plans around those. In the current coronavirus crisis, we’re seeing things that are truly unprecedented and difficult to plan for. Even though a pandemic may have been on their list of things to be concerned about—and the impact was high—the likelihood was so low that a lot of businesses don’t have plans around it.”

When Business as Usual Is Anything But

Karyn White, VP of HR & Development

“There are ebbs and flows of normalcy and change. Expect it, anticipate it, support it…When all is said and done, the steps you take now will help prepare your business for the future of work, when it will be vital to empower an agile workforce with both choice and flexibility.”

The Agile Cure for Continuity in a Crisis

Bill Luberto, Director, Advisory & Project Services and
Kishore Masand, Consultant, Program & Project Management

“Agile organizations know that in order to be effective in such environments, it’s critical that inefficiencies from company hierarchies don’t interfere with self-organized teams that can swiftly coordinate and decisively curtail negative impacts.”

“Agile leaders ensure that communication is frictionless and transparent throughout the organization, so everyone is working from the same storyline. Vision that’s consistently reinforced yet open to feedback will provide guide rails for team performance and delivery. Clarity, candor and consistency beat rumors and watering-hole speculation every time.”

Data & Analytics: The ‘Holy Grail’ During Business Disruption

Sean Brown, VP, Data & Analytics

“I strongly encourage leaders to take the reins and use their data and/or data scientists to start planning for what will be the new normal. Data analytics can deliver actionable insights incredibly fast. Even if executives aren’t familiar with techniques, AI, machine learning and predictive analytics can drive insights from data streams within weeks—not years. Being able to operationalize these business insights will help leaders navigate today’s headwinds and come out the other side better equipped to take advantage of the lasting changes that are certain to happen.”

Healthcare’s Front Line—and New Bottom Line

Joni Noel, SVP, Healthcare

hospital administrator team“With COVID-19 now making cash flow practically an existential issue—spelling the difference between solvency or bankruptcy for a significant number of providers—improving healthcare’s data integration is more urgent than ever as perhaps the fastest and easiest path to solvency.”

When Insurers Need Ensuring: Tips for Navigating Payer Risks During COVID-19

Joni Noel, SVP, Healthcare

“Our experience working with payers like these has been that three main factors—cost-containment, capacity and cybersecurity—are critical for keeping insurers running in an environment where claims are up, revenue’s down, and financial expectations don’t let up.”

How to Flatten Tomorrow’s Risk Curve with Strong Internal Controls

Ian Burnett, VP, Internal Audit and Compliance

“In the absence of formal processes and procedures, there’s an increased risk that employees will skip existing controls. For example, in the rush to respond to sudden demand fluctuations, they might take shortcuts on customer acceptance or credit checks. Or, there could be workarounds on new business profitability analyses or revenue recognition that’s not GAAP-compliant. Assess where you can flex with minimal risk (operational internal policies and procedures) vs. where you can’t (GAAP and other regulatory requirements).”

Supporting Your Workforce in a Post-COVID World

Margaret Zweifel, VP, Change Management

“You need to understand and manage the “people part” of transformation. Now is the time for servant leadership: Show empathy for the change fatigue, emotional responses, and anxiety and stress that people feel. And be prepared to reach out to your workforce in new ways to communicate and instill trust in your organization.”

The 3 C’s for Successful Return-to-Work Communication

Kate Duchene, CEO
(published in Human Resources Executive)
“A well-planned communications cadence—promised and delivered—can not only help create a much-needed routine for employees but it can also help build institutional trust. Oh, and by the way, at a time when we’re all taking virtual meetings from our kitchen or home office, no one’s expecting Hollywood-level video production. A simple, from-the-heart video message recorded on your mobile phone will go a long way and be far more authentic.”

Where Do We Go from Here?

Even if we’re returning to the same workplace, it will look and feel different from the one we left months ago. The only thing that’s certain is that we won’t be “returning to normal.” As we’ve already seen, uncertain times can create unforeseen opportunities. By fostering human agility, we have the chance to ignite that opportunity and to work differently—better than before, smarter than before.

As we near the end of our first 90 days of living and working with COVID-19, we’re just beginning to chart a path for the future. What will that look like for your organization? What challenges do you anticipate? And how can we help? Please let us know.

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