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June 18, 2020

Q&A: A Look at How Corporate Risk Managers Are Adjusting Amid COVID-19

Kristen Peed, the latest guest on the employee benefits podcast.

Kristen Peed is the Director of Corporate Risk Management for CBIZ, Inc. As COVID-19 took over the world, her position lent her a first-hand view of how the pandemic was affecting businesses and the corporate risk management realm. We sat down with Kristen to discuss navigating unknown territory, adjusting risk strategies as things evolve and remaining vigilant in order to protect your company and your employees.

The following are the highlights of our Q&A with Kristen.

  1. What were some of the first actions CBIZ took?

One of the first steps was collaborating with our IT team to assess our ability to support an entirely remote workforce. From there, we worked to fill in the gaps. A second critical early step was developing a plan for transparent communication with our employees. In the beginning, we sent email updates to our associates two to three times per week. We also incorporated video updates from our CEO, Jerry Grisko. As it was clear that the pandemic was becoming more rampant and evolving quickly, we increased to daily communications. These addressed logistical matters, as well as resources and answers to common employee questions and concerns. We were clear as to what steps we were taking to respond and to keep our employees safe and business running. Our goal was to be completely open with our employees and to make them feel as comfortable and informed as possible.

  1. What are some goals related to COVID-19 that you and your team have?

A major goal from the start has been to ensure our associates have the tools, training and resources to work effectively and safely in a remote environment. We formed a learning and development team, primarily comprised of HR and training professionals, who make sure our people have what they need to succeed while working from home. Additionally, while we’ve always made wellbeing a top priority, the nature of that shifted with COVID-19. Understandably, many feel isolated and disconnected, so we make sure our employees have ample communication tools – such as Microsoft Teams – to keep in touch via calls, video, chat, etc. And we clearly communicate their access to telehealth resources, for physical and emotional wellbeing, through our employee benefits plan.

  1. What is something that’s changed in the workplace because of COVID that probably won’t go back to how it was before?

There’s great uncertainty in this area. However, I think that excellent hygiene will stay intact. I also think that people will feel more comfortable in staying home when they are not feeling well, rather than powering through and coming into work. We’ll also likely see more and more companies enabling people to work from home part- or full-time. So, we’ll all need to figure out to manage this over the long term.

  1. What’s the most important lesson we can learn from this pandemic?

That we must be nimble and able to quickly learn new things. We should also be willing to take on new responsibilities that may be out of our comfort zones. Seek out the good news both externally and in your organization; remember the kindness you see and continue that when we are back together.

For more Q&A with Kristen on this topic, listen to the full podcast, “Corporate Risk Managers: How do they sleep at night?”  


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COVID-19 Resources

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