11 Oct Preparing for a Crisis Means Protecting Your Employees Too
After a reasonably quiet summer, the United States is dealing with the aftermath of four major hurricanes in just a few short weeks. The ramifications of these natural disasters are far-reaching, affecting people both at home and at work. After such a significant event, how can an organization carry on?
If you’re not currently in this position, the first thing you need to consider is preparation – and that starts with the creation of a business continuity plan that your organization regularly exercises. This comprehensive plan should include a number of facets, but you should pay high priority to your employees.
Don’t be surprised when only a few of your employees show up to support your business activities before, during, or after a crisis, as everyone will likely be home protecting their personal property and loved ones. In order to keep your business functioning, your business continuity plan should consider the needs of your critical employees, along with their families, pets, and even their property. If employees feel certain that their property and loved ones are safe and taken care of (medical needs, food, water, etc.), they will be more willing to support your emergency operations.
In the case of hurricanes, there are numerous ways to provide support. For example, you can:
– Provide a team or fund to help employees secure their homes.
– Provide employees and their families (and pets) a local or remote “safe haven” with plenty of food, water, and sanitary solutions. Consider babies, pets, and the elderly, as each population has specific needs.
– Provide extra incentive for employees who assist in your company’s recovery efforts.
– Provide or expedite medical assistance, legal assistance, insurance payments, communication channels, entertainment, babysitting, and home repair services, as well as updates on the local communities’ recovery efforts.
– Provide employee training on how to prepare their families for disasters.
The key to recovery success is to keep your employees and their families safe and in reasonably good spirits. In advance of any event, you should discuss and practice (exercise) the company’s anticipated response to a crisis by clearly outlining the family support you will provide, as well as how and/or where this support will manifest itself. If your employees and their families are aware of and practice this process, it will help reduce their anxiety and foster goodwill and company loyalty.
It’s true that all of this comes at an expense without guarantees. However, if your employees are unwilling to support your business through a crisis, you will be guaranteed a difficult recovery, if recovery is even possible. If you have any questions about your organization’s business continuity plan, please reach out to me at 484.383.0606 or firstname.lastname@example.org.