Hindsight Is 20/20: Living Your Culture In The Next Normal

There’s no doubt that things have shifted dramatically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, leaders are asking themselves hard questions.

What does the next "normal" look like for them? And, how can they successfully implement new aspects of their culture into this new normal?

Here are four key things leaders must consider if they want to truly live their culture in the next new normal.

The Past Is Present?

The 2008 financial crisis forced leaders to rethink operations, supply chain, vendor management, employee engagement, ethics, and integrity. Layoffs were widespread and money vanished, while the real estate market collapsed amidst big bank failures fueled by consumers inability to pay excessive mortgages.

It’s now 2020: The pandemic health crisis is new, yet the economic dynamics seem eerily familiar. With the exception of "essential workers" in the food (grocer), safety, and health sectors, business has shut down. Supply chain vendors, grocers, and healthcare systems struggle to keep pace with consumer need/demand as we experience roller-coaster infection rates, re-openings, and new shut-downs. How to survive this is anyone’s guess as every day brings on new cases and more questions.

According to a Fortune 500 CEO survey, 97.2 % of CEO’s said keeping employees safe and productively employed is their #1 concern. (1)

A company’s strong employee culture and the ability to pivot quickly with evolving dynamics are key to thriving Post-COVID.

“Return” to Workspace (RTWS) — Can We? Should We? How Do We?

A company’s culture must absolutely drive this question. Grant Reid, MARS CEO, said, "Part of my job is to import stress and export serenity…how do you bring them back safely into a work environment, keep the social distance and allow them to be successful and safe? Your associates are looking for stability, some hope, some compassion, some trust." (2)

The physical aspect of return is critical. "Companies are re-evaluating physical layouts specific to each employee. They are looking at common areas; multi-tenant commercial spaces…and rearranging reception common areas." (2)

Workstations need more distance and hallways need to become one-way venues. Employers must also evaluate testing protocols for employees, frequency of testing, and qualified caregivers conducting those tests. GoHealth Urgent Care is providing clinical back-up when employer resources are unavailable. (3)

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created guidance on engineering and administrative controls for preparing the workplace for re-entry. (4) And, the EEOC has issued updated guidance on how employers can avoid violating the ADA and other employment laws in addressing the virus. (5)

Significant concerns arise for Workers Compensation insurance. Historically, community-spread illnesses (e.g. cold or flu) have been excluded. Six states recently passed "presumptive" legislation, and 14 total have expanded regulations to include COVID-19 as a workplace illness. To complicate matters, other injuries in the workplace may go unreported, or claims closures extended since non-urgent treatment is delayed in most jurisdictions. (6)

Regulatory Climate: “Innovating Change, Governance & Compliance”

One of the many challenges from this pandemic has been dealing with an ever-changing regulatory climate. With Workers Compensation rule changes, amendments to health benefits, the need for Childcare/Adult care, and the implementation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), companies have struggled to make difficult decisions to care for their employees.

This is the time to look for innovative ways to step up employee benefits such as adding paid sick leave, amending sick policies to ensure employees are paid even if the business is closed, and unlimited paid sick leave even for workers not previously covered, such as hourly workers. Adding child care reimbursement, and increased emergency child care and eldercare benefits can help your employees deal with the pressures of working from home.All group health plans will need to adopt changes to ensure that their plans comply with changes made by the FFCRA and the CARES Act and provide sufficient benefits to combat COVID-19. (7) Under the acts, group health plans will have to do the following:

– Cover the full cost without cost-sharing (i.e., deductibles, copayments, or coinsurance) of testing for COVID-19. This requirement extends to tests provided by both in-network and out-of-network providers and is mandated for the duration of the public health emergency. Both swab tests that collect a specimen from an individual’s upper respiratory tract to diagnose a case of COVID-19 and approved blood tests that look for antibodies to the coronavirus must be covered

– Once developed, group health plans will also be required to provide coverage without any cost-sharing for coronavirus vaccines.

To lessen the anxiety of your employees, consider adding or extending mental health benefits that are personalized and confidential, and offer telehealth services.

Source - Read More at: www.workitdaily.com