The 3 Rs Of The Pandemic: Reaction, Recovery, Reinvention
If you are having a tough time slogging through these days, you might be encouraged to hear that we are in a recovery phase.
That does not mean that these days are easy, according to Catherine Hernandez-Blades, senior vice president, chief ESG and communications officer, Aflac.
Hernandez-Blades offered a three-R model of the pandemic during the presentation “Virtual, Our New Reality” at the American Council of Life Insurers virtual annual meeting on Monday.
Hernandez-Blades described the three Rs of our collective journey through this crisis: reaction, recovery and reinvention. The response period is full of adrenaline and everybody knows what they are marching for.
“Recovery is what I'll call what we're going through now,” Hernandez-Blades said. “And that's the slog. That is the getting used to the new normal that is trying to be productive, when you're absolutely exhausted, and you're still trying to get the job done.”
The reinvention phase will be a restructuring, not just a new way to do the things individuals and companies did before, she said.
Aflac is already expecting a different way of doing business next year.
“We have historically had call centers in centralized locations,” Hernandez-Blades said. “We have all those people answering phones from home, with their tech bundles and their stipends for their internet service. It is not realistic to think all of those people are going to come back, into a corporate type of facility.”
For those going back to the office, they will return to a different environment.
“The work place will look different,” she said. “We have to keep it safe. There will be temperature checks. People will wear masks. We will have social distancing. How do you manage elevators? My office is on the 16th floor of an 18-floor tower. If we're only sending up one person in an elevator at a time, that's going to create quite the kerfuffle, if you will.”
The company knows it will have to look beyond the nuts and bolts for reinventing, she said.
Virtual selling is still evolving, along with how to support remote employees while keeping them engaged.
Success will depend on how strong the organization was before COVID-19 hit.
“You really have to leverage your culture, which has to be strong before you go into a crisis, for all of this to work,” Hernandez-Blades said. “Authenticity, character, competence and that people-first mentality. I think that's probably the best note we can leave it on, is just to remember, it's people first.”
Steven A. Morelli is editor-in-chief for InsuranceNewsNet. He has more than 25 years of experience as a reporter and editor for newspapers and magazines. He was also vice president of communications for an insurance agents’ association. Steve can be reached at [email protected]
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