Fighting Evils with Crisis Management
May 12, 2020
How HR Superheroes Save the Day!
Have you ever heard of the term “superheroes?” I bet you have, and they are all around us. Our favorite superhero is the HR superhero. HR superheroes may not have a cheesy costume suffocated in tights, profoundly hidden talents to ward off bad guys, or amazingly untouched hair after a long battle, but what they do have are their fair share of small business issues that they take on head first.
One issue that has been heavy on the minds of many small business owners is crisis management, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has hindered millions of employers and their employees around the world, carving its path and making its mark as it goes down in history. However, HR advisors combat many crisis situations, such as this one, making them a vital resource for all companies big and small. Crisis management is often associated with risk and safety, but HR is also the hub for managing uncertainty. They understand the needs of the company and its employees so that the entire operation can be prepared to successfully survive. HR advisors can effectively and efficiently create a thought-provoking plan to manage and execute such issues, making HR a focal point to stand tall amongst the rest. So, what exactly happens behind the mask when HR takes an active role in crisis management?
- Defines Policies, Guidelines & Laws: The crisis planning process requires HR advisors to give adequate attention to both preventive and remedial steps through its policies and guidelines. By doing so, the company can react swiftly to preserve the operation and boost its chances for recovery. The goal is to achieve the best outcome by managing more with less, all while complying with federal and state laws. Since catastrophic events vary, HR advisors adjusts policies and guidelines to become flexible and adaptive. Simplifying documentation and incorporating a top-down commitment supports the development of these policies and guidelines.
- Designs Strategy, Training & Preparation: Preparing and implementing appropriate strategy and training is essential for HR advisors. They present safety, health and welfare factors to ensure that the company and its employees know what to do before, during and after a crisis/disaster. Training puts hypothetical scenarios to the test in order to challenge different response mechanisms. In addition, HR advisors create intervention tools to further aid the process. The focus for HR advisors when developing training and preparation is to prevent unnecessary stress and alleviate further trauma.
- Remains Informative, Communicative & Responsive: HR advisors are the main communicators during the crisis planning process. It is an opportunity to instill trust and commitment with employees. Information is communicated in an effective manner without losing sight of the company’s cultural values. In addition, HR advisors include strong communication channels such as, phone calls/hotlines, email updates and newsletters/bulletin boards to relay information. These communication channels are especially important when HR advisors provide services or resources to employees and their families for added support, such as Employee Assistance Plan (EAP), disability, life/AD&D insurance or other programs that may be available.
- Implements Protection & Recovery: During a crisis, HR’s role is to create an emotionally and physically safe environment to protect the sustainability of business continuity and welfare of its employees. Without effective prevention, a company is exposed to risks, such as low morale, anxiety and other workplace issues. After the crisis is over, management and employees will need time to adjust, as they may experience higher than normal levels of stress. Failing to manage employee’s wellbeing and meet their needs make for unsuccessful recovery efforts. Further, HR advisors bolster their role in crisis management by avoiding possible risk exposures through liability actions, protecting company assets and maintaining reputable business relationships against its competitors.
HR superheroes are somewhat disguised with what they do, but it is no secret when it comes to crisis management, as they are pillar to awareness and will be the first to stand ready on the front lines of a crisis. They may not be able to lift tall buildings, but with an archnemesis of disaster, its one evil that cannot win. HR is dedicated to fighting to protect its company and employees no matter what. So, it really goes to show, HR does live up to its name. After all, you cannot spell hero without HR, right?
by Jenn Jackson
I have a BS in Human Resources, love adapting to new environments both corporate and small business, and proud to bring my porch-sitting, chatty hospitality from Virginia to Colorado.
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