The New Normal: Pivot and Retain Key Traditions

Some of you may have been skeptical when you learned the media was labeled an essential business by county governments in Hawai‘i.

Of course, as someone who has spent his whole life in the news business, I agree that we are essential to a democracy and to civil society. We are not indispensable to life like grocery stores and hospitals, but the news media are playing a vital communications role now and will continue to do so as we eventually climb out of this unprecedented economic hole.

Hawaii Business Magazine’s philosophy is to aim to be unique in its coverage. Major news outlets and TV stations keep you up to date on the latest breaking news on the COVID-19 crisis, about health concerns, government rules and more. We don’t try to duplicate that coverage, but we do summarize it in our twice-daily newsletter, Today’s Hawai‘i News.

Our niche is providing important, useful and inspiring information to local businesses and nonprofits, and to business owners, executives and professionals.

We add four to six stories each weekday to our online Coping with COVID-19 section in which CEOs and other senior executives say how their companies have pivoted, describe what has surprised them – good and bad – and offer advice for other local companies. Our reporters are also tackling the topics that we think will be most useful for you to understand better, always with a local perspective. You’ll find some of those stories inside this issue.


Silver Linings

We want to remain positive, so we ask executives if they have found any silver linings. Almost everyone has, and often they are about how a company’s employees have successfully transitioned into new ways of working while continuing to serve customers and the broader community.

Every Hawai‘i resident’s life has been transformed in just a few weeks, so while acknowledging the silver linings, we are cautious about any celebration. You can’t ignore the hardships and anxiety all around us – and you should never want to.

But smiles and laughter are essential medicine to get us through this. That’s why we celebrated our 2020 Best Places to Work in Hawai‘i in an unconventional way. Usually, we hold a lively party at the end of March at the Hilton Hawaiian Village with about 600 employees from the Best Places. Last year’s theme was James Bond and this year’s was scheduled to be the Roaring ’20s.

After the virus canceled this year’s party, we consulted with our main partner in the Best Places program, UHA Health Insurance, and with some of the winning companies. They all agreed: It would be a shame not to celebrate all the work and collaboration that goes into being a Best Place to Work.

So we took the celebration online with a Best Places to Work Week. We gradually revealed this year’s 75 Best Places starting on Monday, with more named each day, and then revealed the top three finishers in the main categories with a Friday afternoon video, complete with cheerleaders and upbeat jazz from the Damien Memorial School Band. Good fun!


Best of Small Business

And that’s why we are going ahead with our annual Best of Small Business celebration in this month’s issue. Small businesses keep Hawai‘i running in good times and bad, and they will be among the vital engines that drive us back to prosperity.

The profiles of 36 local companies and business leaders were written before the crisis hit. These profiles are not about the past few weeks, but about years, decades and – in two cases – a century of service to customers, employees and communities. That’s worth celebrating.

Hawaii Business Magazine’s mission remains the same: “To Strengthen the Local Economy and Help Our Communities Thrive.” To do that, we are both pivoting and maintaining traditions – like many of you are – and will continue to do so. I assume that’s part of the new normal.

Categories: Editor’s Note