Prioritizing Employee Health & Safety: Are Chief Medical Officers Here to Stay?
John blogged not too long ago about how many consider the “S” in ESG the most difficult for companies to analyze and integrate. One aspect of “S” that is garnering a lot of attention during the pandemic is employee health and safety along with customer safety. An NYC Comptroller press release says it has submitted an initial shareholder proposal focused on worker health and safety. One way some companies are demonstrating their commitment to employee health and safety is by bringing on a chief medical officer — or if such a role is already in place, by expanding the CMO’s role.
For companies that don’t have someone fulfilling the CMO role, an HBR article asserts that it’s time to bring one on. Companies in the hospitality sector or with employees on the front lines are places where there’s a good chance to find a CMO or where they might be considering one. But, the article says even for companies with most employees working remotely, it’s still important to have an in-house medical expert:
Hiring an in-house medical expert is an important signal that your leaders cares about their people. ‘Consulting outside experts’ does not suffice. You need to show that employee physical – and mental – health is a fundamental concern. One company gave its workforce direct access to the CMO on the company intranet. The idea was to give everyone ‘peace of mind [that the organization is] seeking a medical perspective to best understand how to keep our employees and communities safe.’
With so much conflicting information that’s changing by the day, it’s important to have an expert who is capable of wading through and interpreting all the data and opinions to determine the course of action that best serves your customer base. Organizations that are not built on hospitality have to decide when and how to start seeing clients and partners, attending road shows and conferences, and much more. Ultimately, business leaders have a social responsibility to set the conditions for safe and healthy behavior.
For a look at some of what’s included in the CMO role, there’s a blog that discusses how the CMO role at Salesforce has evolved since the arrival of Covid-19. As some companies scramble to hire a CMO, the blog says it’s likely more than just a passing fad.
-Lynn Jokela, TheCorporateCounsel.net December 29, 2020
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