The COVID-19 pandemic provided company leadership an opportunity to evaluate and implement processes that were once seen as impossible, the CHROs of Dow Jones, Krispy Kreme, Sealed Air and CommScope discussed during a virtual roundtable Oct. 8.
During Championing the Future of Work: The CHRO's New Mandate, a webinar hosted by Summit Leadership Partners, a leadership advisory firm, HR leaders reflected upon how the pandemic — and the subsequent pivot to telework — affected employee-focused practices at their companies. The leaders also discussed how the onset of the pandemic affected them personally.
There was a period of time for "much needed rebalancing," personally, Sealed Air CHRO Susan Edwards said. "Things slowed down a little bit [and] you got a chance to work from home," she said. "And I was surprised at how much I needed that." But very quickly, she learned that she values face-to-face interaction with others, Edwards said.
Professionally, the pandemic accelerated Sealed Air's flex work policies, she said. "We were already having a conversation about how we could create a global, flexible policy and practice. Half of the organization felt it would never work," Edwards said. "And the other half of the organization said, ‘you know, we ought to just shoot the moon and see what we can do with it.'" This "grand experiment" made the organization realize that it could be possible. "We know there are pitfalls to doing this long term," Edwards said. But there was a consensus to work through it, she said.
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