Thriving in a pandemic: Put your faith in people

Wednesday 9:30 – 10:30am

Session Description

As COVID-19 threatened the health and well-being of people around the world, the need was greater than ever for Edward Jones to live its purpose and care for its clients and communities as well as their own colleagues. In a matter of days, the firm made an unprecedented decision to safeguard their clients, colleagues and communities by closing over 15,000 branch offices to public access. The firm’s two-person branch teams were able to continue working out of their offices using virtual tools such as webinars, Zoom and other means to provide uninterrupted service for clients. The firm went from 15,000 remote access points to 50,000 in a matter of days as associates began working remotely. This required immediate and innovative action from Edward Jones to ensure the health and wellness of its associates. One of the firm’s earliest decisions was the addition of 10 paid personal days, in addition to available sick and safe time for COVID-related absences, including both child and senior care. Soon after, the firm announced several additional expansions to its already robust wellness program, removing barriers to care, the burden of costs, and bolstering a healthy and inclusive workplace for their associates. These comprehensive resources have been extremely well received and successful for the firm, with a 40% increase in use by associates across the organization over the last year. As the landscape begins to change, the firm is now turning its attention to resiliency and reintegration. What will returning to the workplace look like? With our new technologies and ways of working does a hybrid workforce make more sense? How do we equip our leaders to navigate this new way of working? What new sources of stress will arise for employees as they return to work? What will the personal barriers be? How will the physical workplace need to be modified? There are certainly more questions than answers right now but organizations should be thinking about both their short term and long term approach to reintegration. We have an opportunity to thoughtfully reengage our workforce and reimagine the workplace. Applying her extensive experience in human resources, Kim Grbac will share actionable insights designed to help organizations evolve their operations and mindset to adapt to unexpected challenges and continue to advance their purpose.


Kim Grbac

Edward Jones principal Kim Grbac leads the Associate Services area of Human Resources (HR). Created in 2019, the Associates Services area strives to positively impact the experience of associates by providing HR service and administration in several areas, including HR Help, Associate Relations and HR Records. In this role, Kim is responsible for project management, human capital systems and data, technology strategy and operational excellence across the HR division. She contributes to the firm’s efforts to attract, develop and engage a diverse workforce by designing and administering health and welfare benefits, compensation and associate retirement programs, and by leading Headquarter Investment Services. Kim joined Edward Jones in 2006 to lead Branch Office Administrator and Home-office Compensation. She assumed responsibility for the firm’s total rewards programs in 2010 and was named an Edward Jones principal in 2014. Prior to joining Edward Jones, Kim worked in various HR roles at Washington University in St. Louis, Washington University School of Medicine and Maritz Inc. A native of St. Louis, Kim earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and a master’s degree in human resources from Washington University in St. Louis. Kim serves as the executive sponsor for the LGBT+Allies Business Resource Group. She also serves on the Policy Board of Directors of the American Benefits Council and volunteers as a life launch mentor for youth in foster care at Angels’ Arm. She previously served on the board of Memory Care Home Solutions, an organization focused on extending and improving quality time at home for families caring for a loved one with memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.