Yesterday we hosted a Virtual Think IT Panel Event on the topic, So What Is the New Abnormal Anyway? A huge thank you to our panelists, Robin Brown, CIO, Protein North America at Cargill, David Kaercher, CIO at CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Dan Abdul, Senior Vice President, and Chief Technology Officer at Medica, and Sarah Engstrom, CISO & VP IT Security, Productivity & Privacy at CHS Inc. For sharing their insight on how they are adapting to this new abnormal. Thank you to everyone who joined us as well! 

Below you will find an overview of the most popular questions from our members and a summary of what was discussed. 

What does “the new abnormal” mean to you? What are ways to handle it as a human, parent, leader, employee? 

During the pandemic, there have been very vulnerable moments for people. We all had to put ourselves out there and learn how to be empathetic towards people no matter what their situation was. Now we don’t even notice dogs barking or kids crying in the background of zoom meetings because it’s now considered normal. It’s important to remember that everyone’s situation is different in terms of what they’ve had to adapt to during Covid. When it comes to talent, employees are now basically able to work almost anywhere. This is making the market harder to compete in. It’s scary when you don’t know what to plan for, but the panelists are doing their best to navigate the future.   

Knowing what we know now, what would you have done differently over the past year and a half? And how will that impact your outlook for the near future? 

One thing that the panelists mentioned that they would have done differently is to make more time for mentoring. With any extra free time that everyone had was focused on how to navigate this pandemic, so networking and mentoring were pushed to the side. Also, one of the panelists talked about how they wanted to make it something that they remembered but not in a miserable way for their own children.  In the future, panelists will continue to focus on spending time in their community, more networking, and having a work-life balance.  

Have you seen an increase or decrease in productivity operating in a virtual environment? 

There can be so many distractions in a virtual environment, whether it’s at your house or another location. To keep productivity up, some companies are doing no video Mondays and no meetings on Friday afternoons. Also, the panelists talked about how they want to ensure new employees are experiencing the company culture the best they can, even while onboarding remotely.  

How has the new abnormal changed the way you hire? And fire! 

It’s important in this new abnormal to have good managers and leaders understand their company needs. With the virtual environment, they have a lot more access to candidates, which can help companies set different hiring targets.  

During this session, the panelists were able to give insight on what they think the rest of 2021 will look like and how they are going to continue with this new abnormal not only in their professional careers but in their personal lives as well.