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Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on Organizations & Leaders’ Priorities – Key Findings & Insights

JEM, the publisher of Biznology, recently conducted a survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on organizations and leaders’ priorities and the challenges and long-term effects of COVID-19 to businesses, leaders and employees. We surveyed and interviewed past and present clients and readers and subscribers of Biznology and our digital newsletter. Thank you to those of you who participated.

Our sample* included senior leaders from organizations of all sizes – from small-medium businesses to large enterprises with more than 10,000 employees around the globe in a wide range of industries, including automotive, construction, entertainment, financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, life sciences and pharmaceutical, professional services, technology, as well as nonprofits and government.

Across the board, our research clearly shows that organizations of all types and sizes are focusing on employees. The top four priorities and concerns of leaders include: the physical health and safety of employees, followed by maintaining employees’ engagement and productivity in a remote work environment, employees’ mental health, and the possibility of layoffs and furloughs.

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There is and will continue to be a tremendous focus on modifying remote work policies and processes, rethinking workforce configuration, employee engagement and internal communications strategies and programs.

In fact, 73% of respondents stated that they plan long-term changes to their remote work plans and policies. More than half are planning major workforce configuration changes, and 40% are focused on employee engagement strategies, following by 30% focused on internal communications, marketing and innovation.

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Nearly half (46%) stated that developing, deploying and managing a new remote work environment will pose the biggest challenge.

Leaders feel that these changes will pose a significant challenge to accomplish successfully, and they feel only moderately confident in their ability and the ability of their organizations to tackle these challenges, ranking themselves 7.5 on a 10 point scale, and their organizations 7.2.


Yet, only 3% are focusing on board composition and only 6% are focusing on their executive team as challenges to be addressed.

In addition to the challenges and necessary changes businesses, leaders and employees face as the result of COVID-19, something even bigger is happening. We are in the midst of massive societal change and a focus on achieving true diversity, equity and inclusion in our organizations — all of which will result in transformational change to our society and the future of work.

Our consulting division, Consultants Collective is calling this The Third Wave, dubbed by senior member consultant Mark Dollins. Beyond what some are calling ‘the new normal,” The Third Wave is about transformational change. “It’s about transforming how leaders and employees work, think and behave in ways that protect people and business from risk and drive performance,” says Dollins.

Our Third Wave initiative will provide resources for leaders to successfully drive this change within their organizations – from the logistics of remote work and addressing the needs and safety of front-line workers to instilling new behaviors, cultural norms, supporting employee ambassadors, and ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements in this new world of work. We’re launching this exciting new initiative via a webinar on July 1st. Several of our executive consultants, advisors and coaches will join the discussion to answer your questions. Register here to join the discussion. As always, this webinar will be recorded and available on-demand here on Biznology. Hope to see you then.

We’ll also be continuing this series with the interviews conducted in conjunction with this study, “Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on Organizations and Leaders’ Priorities.”

So, stay tuned for more!

Are you ready for The Third Wave? Complete this free self-assessment:

*NOTE: The JEM survey sample size was less than 100 organizations and therefore not a  statistically relevant sample. However, it is a representative indicator of trends across a broad sample of organizations, and findings are in line with other sources.

Jen McClure

Jen McClure is founder and CEO of JEM, a Silicon Valley-based global management consultancy and publishing group. She oversees the company’s consulting and advisory services division, Consultants Collective and its media business, including Biznology. JEM serves clients in a wide range of industries, including aviation, financial services, healthcare, life sciences, pharmaceutical and technology. A recognized business leader, Jen was named a “Power Player” in management consulting by Business Insider in its first list of the most influential executives disrupting the industry and having a positive impact within their firms. Jen has worked with her team to grow JEM significantly since its founding in 2015, and in 2019 the company received certification as a Women-Owned Small Business in the Federal Contracting Program, and is recognized as a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) by the Department of Defense (DOD). Jen is considered to be one of the original authorities on digital and social media. She was named one of the “Women Who Rock Social” by Top Rank Marketing. She foresaw the significant impact that digital and social technologies would have on business, media, culture and society and founded the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR) in 2005 as a think tank to study this impact. She served as SNCR’s Board Chair for 10 years, and led the organization’s merger with The Conference Board in 2016. She now serves as a Distinguished Principal Fellow of The Conference Board, supporting the organization’s mission to provide trusted insights to help leaders navigate the biggest issues facing business. In addition to her expertise in digital and social media, Jen’s executive experience includes roles in corporate communications, marketing, public relations, media relations and investor relations. Prior to founding JEM, Jen was Vice President of Digital and Social Media at Thomson Reuters. She was Chief Marketing Officer of Redwood Collaborative Media, and held senior marketing and public relations roles at Ziff Davis, Ketchum Public Relations and New Electronic Media Science. Jen is a Governance Fellow of the National Association of Corporate Directors. She is a member of the Leadership and Technology Councils of the National Small Business Administration. She currently serves on the board of KQED, the nation’s second largest public media organization, and on the advisory boards of Miracle Messages, How Women Lead and How Women Give. Jen earned her master’s degree from Stanford University, her bachelor’s degree from Sarah Lawrence College and a graduate certificate in History, Politics and Sociology from the University of Oxford’s Exeter College.

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