The global COVID-19 pandemic has underscored how we are living and working in extraordinary and unprecedented times. The pandemic has also highlighted how unprepared organizations were in managing emerging and long-tail risks.
How does a business leader tackle a challenge that has never existed before? Organizations have had to find new ways to adapt and flex in these exceptional circumstances and reimagine how they can best serve their stakeholders: clients, employees, communities, and partners.
This year, Aon began bringing together a coalition of large employers and other key organizations from a broad range of sectors to examine the issues rising from the COVID-19 crisis and discuss ways to re-introduce fundamental aspects of society and the economy: working, traveling and convening. The insights and expertise produced at these global Work Travel Convene Coalition meetings – together with exclusive Aon research and case study interviews with leading multinational organizations – form the foundations of a new report, Helping Organizations Chart a Course to The New Better.
Four core priorities reshaping the future
The COVID-19 pandemic challenged companies to think – and act – quickly. This moment isn’t over, but it has helped companies reorder their priorities and accelerate innovation in critical business areas, which will continue in a post-pandemic world.
The special report, Helping Organizations Chart a Course to The New Better, shows there are four major areas where companies can realize significant impact for their organizations.
- Navigating New Forms of Volatility: Companies must now work along two dimensions – managing current issues related to the pandemic and strengthening their risk management strategy for a complex future through the identification and planning for certain long-tail risks. This does not mean simply reacting to the events of this year, but understanding how the confluence of business changes and external factors will shape risk going forward. Rather than a focusing on a return to normal, companies must prepare to navigate new forms of volatility with more innovative solutions.
- Building a Resilient Workforce: Workers have experienced a fundamental shift in where, how, and when work gets done over the past decade. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated many companies’ moves toward a remote and digital working environment. On top of this, they have had to re-examine their strategies when it comes to employee wellbeing. The urgent issue today is building a resilient workforce – employees better equipped to adapt to change, manage stress and pressure, and maintain productivity through uncertainty. An organization can clear a path to this resilience by implementing a series of measures from reassessing their wellbeing and compensation policies to building their workforce’s digital capabilities.
- Rethinking Access to Capital: The pandemic has highlighted how increasing and intensifying risks push companies to get creative in accessing capital – which can also mean redefining its source.In a changing business environment, companies’ most valuable assets may be something they are not prioritizing – such as intellectual property and other intangible assets. Many organizations have not put in place the tools or strategies to manage intangible assets the way they do their hard assets, but this misses a critical opportunity. As the market changes and external forces shape the business environment, companies must turn their attention to innovative, modern ways of thinking about and managing capital.
- Addressing the Underserved: As the COVID-19 pandemic claimed lives and livelihoods across the globe, many business and government leaders sounded the alarm on underserved industries, economies, communities and individuals. The pandemic exposed the pre-existing vulnerabilities of those underserved entities in a variety of ways – economic resilience, health care, digital capabilities, risk management approaches, and beyond. Now, multiple stakeholders are coming together to address these gaps.
The COVID-19 crisis has thrust organizations around the world into uncharted territories and forced them to face new risks – risks for which they were largely unprepared. There was no roadmap to guide a response and no past data to inform analytics or predictive models to help prepare for the future.
Organizations and their leaders understand: Things cannot go back to the way they were. And what’s more, to face the perils that could hit them, organizations will need to step up their efforts to prepare for these new risks. Organizations will need to prepare themselves for the risks posed by a volatile world and to not settle for a new normal but to instead strive to achieve a new better.
Read the full report, Helping Organizations Chart a Course to The New Better, including defining moments of the pandemic, case studies of leading companies navigating change, key insights, and more.