Companies prioritise operational resilience and staff wellbeing as they adapt to the crisis and look ahead to the future

Aon has published the results of a global study which details some of the steps companies are taking to prepare for other emerging long-tail risks. 

Spanning more than 15 industries and representing multinational organisations from the US, Europe and Asia, key findings include: 

  • Nearly 89 percent of companies plan toenhance their wellbeing programme to focus on their workforce’s emotional and mental health wellbeing as a result of the pandemic. 
  • More than 84 percent of companies said they have strengthened their communications protocol to better react and respond to vendors, governments and employees during the pandemic. 
  • More than 87 percent of companies have deepened their partnership with key vendors to support the management process and coordination of a return to the workplace. 

Key themes have emerged by geography as participants identify priorities, build guidelines and best practices and chart the path forward: 

  • Australia: accelerating the ability to adapt to crisis, building a resilient workforce in or out of the office and addressing the underserved impacted by the economics of COVID-19. 
  • Dublin: workforce agility, mental health and wellbeing and the connection between innovation and collaboration. 
  • London: how to return to the workplace, the future of work and the importance of data in that future. 
  • The Netherlands: health and safety, building connectivity to balance attrition and improve productivity. 
  • Singapore: the agility of firms and employees, the importance of culture and the future of work. 
  • United States: the role of leadership and communication, the future of work and return to the workplace. 

According to Greg Case, chief executive officer of Aon: ”Rather than accept the so-called new normal, this work leads our clients to define the new better on their own terms.” 

James Baum, CEO of Aon in Australia said: “The Australian Work Travel Convene Coalition has been focused on learning from the pandemic and its impact to build stronger operational resilience and explore improvements in how we most effectively use the workplace.”

”As part of our discussions in this coalition, employee mental health has been a key consideration as part of the people-first approach to work in the wake of COVID-19, and how we can also maintain organisational culture in driving more inclusive and diverse workplaces.” 

While there were hundreds of participants that shaped the findings, the report highlights six case studies about efforts in handling the COVID-19 pandemic over the past nine months: 

  • Professional services company Accenture explores how strategic planning and integrated decision making, with a primary focus on safety, enabled the firm to scale its pandemic response and adapt as the situation evolved. 
  • Bord Bia, the Irish food board, explains how its past crisis management experience allowed the organisation to plan for multiple scenarios and support Irish producers, farmers and companies while nurturing innovation. 
  • Science and technology company Merck KGaA streamlined its “Future of Work” program, a data-driven approach shaped by four guiding principles. 
  • Real estate services provider JLL identified the importance of networking and communication in its multifaceted response to the pandemic, leveraging its technology investments and forging public-private partnership aiding front-line governments in their pandemic response. 
  • Global restaurant chain McDonald’s recounts how its experience in managing health and safety concerns and supply chain planning, along with support for its diverse workforce led to the company’s response. 
  • Helle Thorning-Schmidt, former prime minister of Denmark, shared her initial learnings from the crisis, urging the private and public sectors to find new ways to approach collaboration to better prepare for future threats. 

“Over the course of this six-month dialogue, coalition participants have reacted to shifting expectations around the duration and ultimate impact of the pandemic,” added Case.

“Even as we publish these findings, new restrictions and lockdowns are being issued against the backdrop of a global race to approve and distribute a wave of promising vaccines. These realities reinforce that, while there may be a long road ahead, there is in fact a path to a new better for countries, companies and communities around the world.”