Water Well Journal

May 2016

Water Well Journal

Issue link: http://read.dmtmag.com/i/668983

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Page 55 of 77

T he first step in getting ready to handle any crisis in the workplace is to acknowledge it can happen anywhere and anytime. To deal effectively with a crisis, companies should be able to react correctly when such situations arise. Being prepared for a crisis is about building the capacity of employees to tackle serious disasters by equipping them to know how to make serious but important decisions that will safely steer the company through the storm. The person leading human resources must make sure a strategic plan takes into account the health, safety, and welfare of all employees. Collaborating with management, this person can assure all workers are taken care of in all crisis manage- ment and business continuity plans. Assessing the Risks HR leaders should work with company management to identify the types of emergencies the company may face. Once threats have been identified, a needs assessment should be conducted to determine resources needed for continuing business operations. A risk assessment should include: • Identifying the top threats and vulnerabilities to your company • Analyzing what business functions are critical to your operations • Identifying the resources needed to protect those critical business functions • Establishing a crisis management team, and designating people within that group responsible for communications. Creating the Crisis Plan Once potential disasters have been assessed, the following plans should be defined: • Emergency response plan —evacuation, sheltering, and lockdown • Crisis communications plan—how best to communicate with employees, customers, and the media • Business continuity plan—strategies to overcome the disruption of business • IT plan—recovery of computer hardware, connectivity, and data. These plans are necessary and critical to ensuring the continuity of your business operations in a crisis, effectively communicating with employees, and consistently applying employment laws and workplace policies. At a minimum, the plans should address the following areas. • What determines whether your company stays open? — Individuals in the organization — Specific reports or advisories — Local or external standard • How will your organization communicate closures or delays to employees? — What media will be used — Who will communicate — When will they communicate • How will attendance or tardiness be handled? — Will tardiness and absenteeism be considered excused or unexcused — Will issues be handled case-by-case or according to set policy — Will there be separate policies for voluntary and invol- untary absences and tardiness — How will the Family Medical Leave Act be handled • Will you allow work-at-home and telecommuting options? — Under what conditions will these options be available — Which employees will be able to use these options • How will pay and wage and hour practices be admin- istered if employees are voluntarily or involuntarily tardy or absent? — How will compensation be handled for non-exempt and exempt employees — What wage and hour issues may surface Managing the Crisis Plan Beyond disaster plans, the HR leader should play a critical role alongside management in developing and updating strate- gies for emergency planning, disaster recovery, and safety to assure employees and managers know how to respond should a crisis surface. The following are some tips for the HR person in crisis planning and management. • Update employees' contact information regularly, ideally once a year, and have current emergency contacts for each employee. ALEXANDRA WALSH CRISIS MANAGEMENT IN THE WORKPLACE It is critical to have a plan because a crisis can happen anywhere. PEOPLE AT WORK waterwelljournal.com 52 May 2016 WWJ

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