Organizations are facing some of the most difficult challenges they’ve ever experienced. To emerge better from the current pandemic, Aon is leading a series of Work, Travel and Convene coalitions throughout the globe that bring together companies across industries to develop plans, guidelines, and share best practices, in order to help restart the economies safely.

Bridget Gainer, Chief Commercial Officer for Aon’s Public Sector Partnership, shares her perspective on the shape of recovery and new ways of working – which will require collaborations across both the public and private sector.

Q: What does recovery look like to you?

There is no precedent for what we’re currently facing. One organization or one government will not be able to chart the path forward on their own. To help answer some immediate-term questions like “what does return to workplace look like?” or the broader future of the workplace, Aon is convening companies and governments together to have these discussions and share best practices to build plans in partnership with each other.

The goal is to establish what recovery looks like, and how we, as a global society, can emerge from this “better.” There is no “right” answer to many of these questions, so we’re looking at examples from across the globe that are coming from various places, some within the private sector, some within the public sector, that can provide a good starting point for others. Many of these questions rely on data pulled from various sources that can help lead to more informed thinking that can lead to stronger decisions in this uncertain environment.

In addition, we’re looking at historic examples, such as after the 9/11 attacks when the U.S. government helped accelerate business returning to normal with a government backstop, as well as steps taken in the aftermath of the 2008 Financial Crisis, to de-risk mortgage activity.

Q: This public and private partnership seems key. How do you see this working across different industries?

Consider how cities functioned before, and how the large-scale shutdowns driven by the pandemic have changed this. There may be no going back to the same ways of a city working. Transportation, travel, local businesses – all will be impacted, and will fundamentally change how cities work. This necessitates a strong partnership between private firms and public governments to meet the challenges – as well as the opportunities that we may face.

Plus, many of the issues private entities are experiencing as they reimagine how they work are also challenges for public organizations. Whether it be how our health system may be transformed, or how we view cyber risk, to challenges such as our ability to respond to natural disasters and longer term issues such as climate change: public-private partnerships will be critical.

Q: Cooperation among private organizations is also a major part of the Aon-led “Work, Travel, and Convene” coalitions. How do you see this working?

While it might seem as though we’re all going through the same experience around the world, no company is facing the exact same challenge. So first, we want to understand where firms are in their current planning and how they are approaching a return to the workplace, including their use of health screenings, environmental health and space planning, legal and compliance issues, and communication to employees and stakeholders.

By bringing like companies together, we can facilitate dialogues to share best practices and co-develop a high-level approach to recovery. This forum of peers will be powerful for organizations as they plan so they can share information, advice, and together influence how city and state stakeholders give advice.

Bridget Gainer, Chief Commercial Officer for Aon’s Public Sector Partnership