CHRO COVID-19 Recording: Ford's Kiersten Robinson 5-29-20

In response to the rapidly developing coronavirus outbreak and its unprecedented impact to business and employers, i4cp has launched a series of weekly standing calls specifically for challenges facing CHROs and other senior HR leaders. 

The coronavirus pandemic has clearly changed how businesses and their HR functions operate. The crisis has also presented organizations with an opportunity to rethink their approach to everything from flexible work arrangements and employee safety protocols to company culture and the employee experience. HR leaders from organizations such as Experian, IBM, McKesson, Mercury Systems, and many more joined special guest Kiersten Robinson, chief HR officer at Ford Motor Co., on this week's COVID-19 Response Series call for HR leaders to discuss how the pandemic figures to affect their organization and their HR functions in the days and years ahead. Some highlights:

Organizations are considering a number of factors when weighing what they will need to do differently to compete in a post-pandemic future. In today’s instant poll, for example, participants were asked what they believe will make the biggest impact in terms of what their companies must do differently to compete and win in the future. Seventeen percent said “rethinking where or when work gets done.” Another 11% said “rethinking the work that needs to get done, i.e., role/job design,” while 3% and 1% specified “rethinking what ‘leadership’ means and reinforcing it,” and “rethinking ‘who’ gets the work done.” Tellingly, the largest number by far (68%) selected “all of the above.”

The coronavirus pandemic presents opportunities in addition to many challenges. For example, many participants on today’s call noted that CEOs and other executive leaders at their organizations are more receptive to making changes to existing processes and practices, such as rethinking the extent to which they allow employees to work from home.

The coronavirus pandemic stands to affect culture in a positive way at some organizations. A recent i4cp survey, for instance, found 75% of respondents saying they feel their cultures will ultimately change in a significant and positive manner in the wake of COVID-19; a sentiment that several HR leaders on today’s call echoed. For example, we received several comments pointing out that they’ve seen empathy and communication increase in their organizations throughout the past two months. HR leaders also expressed concern, however, as to whether this type of focus on empathy and its role in healthy cultures will be sustained post-pandemic.

COVID-19 figures to affect the employee experience going forward as well, as discussed on today’s call. Recent i4cp research confirms as much, with 48% of companies with more than 1,000 employees saying that the pandemic will change what “employee experience” means at their organizations to a high extent, with another 21% saying that COVID-19 will change the employee experience to a very high extent. More than a quarter (26%) said that the employee experience will change to a moderate extent.

In addition to this recording, please see these resources: