In this week’s Weekend Roundup, the often zero public visibility job as a risk manager has become a hot commodity in the workforce. Employers having to guard employee privacy for those who test positive for the coronavirus and learn to protect their colleagues. MIT professor, Alex Pentland, penned a white paper on what restarting the economy will look post-coronavirus. Click the headlines below to learn more.
Twenty years ago, corporate risk managers had near-zero public visibility. Most were back-office staffers who focused on securing insurance for environmental and real estate problems (tornadoes, fires, earthquakes, facilities breaches). Young people didn’t aspire to be risk managers. There were just a dozen small academic programs in the U.S. focused on the career. The pandemic has catapulted the field into prominence almost overnight. “Risk management now has boards’ attention and has been given a seat at the table for input and consideration,” says Al Marcella, president of Business Automation Consultants LLC, a St. Louis-based security assessment firm.
The tension plays out in workplaces across the country: An employee calls out sick and tests positive for COVID-19. Company leaders inform their co-workers that they have been exposed to someone who has the dreaded disease.
But sometimes anxious employees want to know the name of the sick person to gauge their own risk.
Lawyers counsel employers to guard the privacy of the sick employee and not divulge the name. But it’s a delicate dance, protecting the privacy rights of the sick person while safeguarding other employees.
While a drastic shutdown of business has been a key part of tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic fallout is spiraling, with almost 10 million people filing for unemployment in the last two weeks of March and markets dropping precipitously. A key question now is how to restart the economy safely and efficiently when the time comes.
That process could hinge on digital tools and a workforce of people who are certified as immune to COVID-19, according to MIT professor Alex Pentland, the faculty director of MIT Connection Science and co-creator of the MIT Media Lab.
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