CHRO COVID-19 Recording: Lincoln Financial Group's Lisa Buckingham & Accenture's Ellyn Shook 4-17-20

In response to the rapidly developing coronavirus outbreak and its unprecedented impact to business and employers, i4cp is launching a seven-week series of weekly standing calls specific to HR leadership roles. 

As the coronavirus pandemic continues on, organizations are realizing a need to re-think their talent supply chains in order to navigate this environment of continuous disruption. This was the focus of the latest CHRO COVID-19 Response Series call, where dozens of CHROs and HR leaders discussed how their organizations are approaching the use of their talent (and displaying overall agility) in the wake of COVID-19.

Guest speakers Lisa Bettinger-Buckingham (EVP of People, Place and Brand at Lincoln Financial Group) and Ellyn Shook (CHRO at Accenture) shared their organizations’ roles in launching People + Work Connect, the recently launched, analytics-driven platform designed to connect companies with roles to fill and talented individuals in need of work. Some highlights:  


Today’s call focused almost exclusively on the People + Work Connect, an analytics-based platform that links companies that are cutting jobs with ones that are hiring. Founded by HR leaders at Accenture, Lincoln Financial, Service Now and Verizon, the platform went from concept to launch in just two weeks, is available to any company with approximately 100 jobs to fill or 100 available workers to place, and has already connected more than one hundred companies and those in need of jobs.  

Today’s guest speakers, Lincoln Financial Group CHRO Lisa Buckingham, and Accenture CHRO Ellyn Shook, discussed how the coronavirus pandemic has led their organizations to change the way they think about redeploying talent. For example, Buckingham noted that initial scenario planning at LFG led the leadership team to realize that “walls would have to be broken down” and talent would have to be moved throughout the organization to address this challenge.  

This speaks to the relevance of i4cp’s Talent Ecosystem Integration Model, which outlines the multiple avenues – collaborative/agile teams, internal and external talent marketplaces, partnerships, for example – that high-performance organizations pursue to meet their talent needs.  


Similarly, the lessons learned in taking the People + Work Connect platform to market in two weeks

underscored the importance of an organization, and HR, displaying agility in the midst of a crisis.  

Today’s poll question asked the group which element of this model they believe would enable the greatest agility and/or resiliency in their organizations.  

35% of respondents said that their external talent exchange would enable the greatest agility, with 34% saying the same about their internal talent marketplace. Another 13% answered “gig/freelancers,” with 10% responding “crowdsourced solutions from curated internal/external audiences.


Recent i4cp pulse surveys have confirmed that organizations are turning their attention to return-to-work efforts, even though it’s still unclear when the workplace will return to “normalcy.”  

According to i4cp data, which we shared on this call, the majority of companies have put together a dedicated return-to-work task force or team to lead the effort. In a poll of 292 organizations with 1,000 or more employees, 65% said their company has already assembled such a team, with another 26% discussing the formation of a return-to-work task force.  

These teams are primarily composed of:  

  • CHRO (73% of organizations)
  • Corporate Communications Leader (58%)
  • Select Business Unit Leaders (54%)
  • General Counsel/Legal (48%)
  • Environmental Health and Safety Leader (40%)
  • Executive Leadership Team (36%)  


Both guest speakers touched on the link between personal health and the health of one’s relationships, including at work; i4cp’s upcoming holistic well-being research addresses this as well.  

As i4cp’s Kevin Martin noted on today’s call, the onus is on organizations in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic to not allow physical proximity, or a lack thereof, create feelings of isolation and a lack of connectedness with colleagues and the company. (This subject came up on yesterday’s Total Rewards Leader response call as well.)  

Companies are addressing this head on. At Accenture, for example, the company has created a section on the company intranet with resources designed to help employees acclimate to working remotely, and allows the opportunity to interact with each other, and also includes a section dedicated to maintaining mental well-being and brain health.    

In addition to this recording, please see these resources: