20 for ‘20: Top Insights, News & Success Stories in a Year of Crisis

December 22, 2020
8 Minute Read

Unprecedented. New normal. Uncharted territory. Even our vocabulary has stretched to the limit in 2020, as we’ve struggled to describe the COVID-19 reality that suddenly confronted us. As we near the end of this year like none other, we look back on what we’ve experienced—and on what we’ve learned.

For us, it all started on February 3. Our Asia-Pacific business head had just posted a short message on our website saying we’re closely monitoring a new virus believed to have first appeared in Wuhan, China. On our radar screen, but FYI only.

By the end of the first quarter, however, when the novel coronavirus exploded into a global pandemic, we knew it marked a turning point that would define a tumultuous year. The world of work was transformed almost overnight, disrupting virtually every business function—and the people, processes and technology needed to support them.

Just as quickly, leaders from across RGP pivoted to respond, putting business continuity plans into action to support the needs of our clients and employees alike. They also shared their expertise and perspective about how best to adapt to this new—or next—normal and to a future of work that is happening now.

This round-up of our most popular 2020 blog posts, op-eds, news coverage and client success stories serves as a first draft of how to meet the challenges of a global pandemic—and as a guide for navigating the disruption that’s still to come.

Expert Insights and Perspectives

From the chaotic early days of lockdown to the astonishing race to develop, manufacture and distribute a vaccine, here are the Human Insights articles that captured the greatest interest.

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

By Kate Duchene, CEO

As a business executive in a human capital company, I’ve spent the last few weeks responding to—and trying to anticipate—COVID-19’s trek across the globe.

It’s meant constantly monitoring guidance from health agencies spanning the WHO to local authorities; nearly constant communications with employees; ensuring our people have laptops for work-from-home and that the VPN won’t crash; not to mention refereeing an ongoing “it’s not as bad as people think” vs. “it’s worse than people thought” debate around the conference table. Or, more likely these days, on a teleconference.

2. Responding to Crisis with Agility and Resilience

By Mark Stifter, VP Risk and Compliance

The COVID-19 global pandemic is testing businesses in every corner of the globe at a scale we’ve never seen before. Even the best business continuity plans might not account for all of the risk factors you’re having to manage and mitigate. That’s why our top priority at RGP is providing support to overcome the challenges you face right now while helping you build a resilient foundation for the future.

3. The Agile Cure for Continuity in a Crisis

By Bill Luberto, VP Business Transformation and Kishore Masand, Consultant, Program and Project Management

The ongoing spread of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 has created an unprecedented level of uncertainty for the entire business world. Although there’s still much we don’t know about how this pandemic will eventually reshape our economy, industries and professions, we do know this: We must continually prepare for Black Swan events like these as best we can beforehand—not after the fact.

4. Closing the Books on the First Financial Close of the Pandemic

By Andy Jones, VP Finance Transformation

The financial close is a stressful time, even under ordinary circumstances. Getting through it in the midst of a pandemic—with everyone working remotely—would have been unimaginable. Now that we’ve done it a few times, what have we learned? And how can you be better prepared for next time?

5. Digital Ethics & Privacy: Doing the Right Thing with Data

By Ashley Brown, Manager, Data Privacy and Information Security

From repurposing robots to help hospitals care for patients to mobilizing support for a virtual workforce, businesses have quickly transformed their operations to contain the spread of COVID-19. But many worry these actions could have the unintended side effect of sidelining privacy and data protection.

6. How to Plan for the ‘People Part’ of Transformation

By Ed Caldwell, VP, Change Management

Although this article was published near the end of 2019, it remains relevant and attracted a continuous flow of readership throughout 2020. It’s no surprise. As the first sentence says, “Transformative change inevitably brings serious human impacts.” And 2020 was nothing, if not transformative. Read (or re-read) the story to see why change management should be a cornerstone of your strategic planning, with a focus on the “people part.”

7. How Business Agility Helps You Thrive in the Age of Disruption

By Bill Luberto, VP Business Transformation and Kishore Masand, Consultant, Program and Project Management

To keep up with rapidly accelerating technology breakthroughs and rising customer expectations, business leaders need the agility to respond to constant change. Agile transformation is a bold move for any organization, but the sooner you begin, the sooner you will realize the benefits.

8. Why Now Is the Time for Finance Transformation

By Andy Jones, VP, Finance Transformation

With cash flows squeezed by the dramatic slowdown many have faced as COVID-19 continues to spread, some firms are struggling for their very survival. Yet, I’m convinced that now—even in the midst of the pandemic—is the time to transform the way finance and accounting teams work.

9. Healthcare’s Return-to-Work: 4 Questions to Prepare for the Post-COVID-19 World

By Joni Noel, SVP, Healthcare and Private Equity

If America’s healthcare and life sciences sectors today look like a split screen of two different realities—don’t adjust your set. That’s exactly what it is. Two realities. On the one side are states like those in the Northeast hit with a COVID-19 tsunami in the spring but now recording lows. On the other are states including some in the South and parts of the West currently setting record highs. It’s all fluid. In fact, by the time you read this, the situation may have changed yet again. (It has.)

10. Supporting Your Workforce in a Post-COVID World

By Margaret Zweifel, VP Change Management

The concept of “business as usual” might seem like a quaint oxymoron today. But as we begin moving beyond the first stage of pandemic response, business leaders must reimagine what usual looks like—and be ready to guide transformation during the post-COVID recovery.

Read more insights from RGP’s subject matter experts.

RGP in the News

Even before the pandemic swept across the globe like a giant wrecking ball, RGP was already off to a momentous new year. California’s new “gig worker” law kicked things off, quickly followed by transformation within our executive leadership team, as Jennifer Ryu was promoted to Chief Financial Officer and Katy Conway became our Chief People Officer. We also celebrated the 20th anniversary of our Nasdaq listing and launched a new digital project management solution, LaunchPM.

Throughout the year, our leaders contributed to the global conversation about new models for an agile, blended workforce—what we call “borderless talent.”

11. New Gig Law—New Need for Business Agility

CFO Magazine

On January 1, 2020, California became the first state in the nation to begin regulating its gig workforce—classifying many independent contractors as full-time employees. RGP CEO Kate Duchene’s op-ed in CFO Magazine detailed how businesses can best compete in this new economic landscape.

12. Bloomberg Radio Interviews CEO Kate Duchene

Bloomberg Radio

RGP CEO Kate Duchene also joined Bloomberg Radio to discuss new workforce strategies that all leaders should be thinking about beyond COVID. Interviewers Carol Massar and Jason Kelly questioned the future of human capital models, and Kate shared her predictions about the short- and longer-term impacts on the workforce.

13. How to Build Culture for Blended Workplaces

Human Resources Executive

In this op-ed for HR Executive magazine, RGP Chief Operating Officer Tim Brackney wrote that vibrant company cultures are needed for tomorrow’s post-COVID-19 blended workforces and workplaces to thrive.

14. The 3 C’s for a Successful Return to Work Communication

Human Resources Executive

It’s been said that the difference between mere management and leadership is communication. In this op-ed, RGP CEO Kate Duchene offered insights into the “3 C’s” of HR communication—Credibility, Content and Cadence—as well as examples of RGP’s own experience during COVID-19, including cascading “top-down” communications starting with the C-suite while also creating building channels for organic “bottoms-up” employee communication.

15. Office Work Will Never Be the Same

Vox

When the world eventually opens back up after the COVID-19 pandemic, many parts of society, the economy and the workplace will not be what we remember. For so-called knowledge workers, people whose jobs typically require analytical thinking as well as computers, not only will their offices look different, but the way they work will be altered, too. It might never be the same. Our CEO Kate Duchene shared her insights on what’s happening—and what’s next— for the future of work in this featured story on Vox.

16. What Will It Take for Companies and Employees to Succeed In the Post-Pandemic Workplace?

Forbes

What does the “Now of Work” look like in a post-pandemic world? RGP’s President and COO Tim Brackney was recently interviewed by Forbes’ Bonnie Marcus on the workforce—and workplace—of the future. Tim predicts that tomorrow’s post-pandemic work world will include more distributed teams using a blend of technology and in-person interactions and that location will matter less in a world where talent will increasingly be borderless.

17. Forbes Names RGP to America’s Best Executive Recruiting Firms

Forbes

In August, RGP was honored to be named for the first time to Forbes’ prestigious ranking of “America’s Best Executive Recruiting Firms 2020.” Forbes partnered with market research company Statista to determine their annual list of America’s best executive recruiting firms—the top 200 firms specializing in filling permanent executive positions earning more than $100,000 annually.

Learn more about how RGP is making news.

Our Clients’ Success Stories

Working with more than 2,000 companies around the globe, including more than 80% of the Fortune 100, we’re on the front lines of the transformation that today’s businesses are navigating. Here are a few of their stories.

18. Transforming the Business Model for a Better Customer Experience

To enable a smooth transition from a siloed business model to a more integrated, consultative selling approach, our client, a Fortune 50 pharmaceutical subsidiary, wanted to enable collaboration across business units and to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their customer service capabilities.

19. Partnering for Smarter Insights and Stronger Outcomes

Our insurance industry client had outgrown their existing platforms and were looking to expand to the cloud with Amazon Web Services (AWS). We developed a trusted, collaborative partnership to meet their complex data and analytics challenges. Based on several successful engagements, the CIO called on us to do a strategy health check and build out their cloud analytics platform.

20.Bringing Greater Clarity to Total Cost of Ownership

As a major automotive platform that helps customers buy, sell and own cars, our client knows that “full sticker price” doesn’t reflect total cost of ownership (TCO). RGP’s team of AWS, Finance and IT experts helped them realize the benefits of their cloud migration with an optimized IT costing model, robust TCO analysis and a holistic view of their cloud migration benefits.

Read more of our clients’ success stories.

As this year comes to a close, now’s a good time to look back on where we’ve been, what we’ve learned, and how we can take advantage of our human agility to ignite opportunity and impact. How have your experiences in 2020 changed your perspective? And how do you plan to apply the lessons of this challenging year to not only survive but thrive in 2021?

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