Tuesday, 30 October 2012

What is HR's Role in a Natural Disaster?

People feel very cut off in a natural disaster, not just physically, but emotionally too. Good communication between HR and the employees in the emergency area is important. People are getting news from several sources about the emergency, but it won't be about your company. When designing your communications, tailor them to talk about the business.

Storm clouds clearing over NYC
Let employees know that you are there for them and ask them to keep in touch with HR or their line managers. Once you have established their safety, start to communicate with employees about what you can do to support them. Does your company have insurance or support services that they need? Can you provide them with contact information for the government services that they need? Some may need extra time to deal with problems and you should make sure that they can resolve those issues so that you can get them back up and running as quickly as possible.

It is tough for employees to meet their commitments and helping them to manage their commitments is an excellent way to achieve a supportive business culture.

How Do I Communicate Effectively?

Start to communicate with your employees about how they can help to get the business back up and running once the emergency conditions are over. 

Communicate effectively by keeping your statements short. Let them know what your progress is and that you are concerned for them and the business. Employees will take great comfort in knowing the business is there for them to get back to and that senior managers are making that a priority.

Try to create a schedule so that employees know when you will next communicate with them. Ask your employees for their input, they probably know what is (and isn't) a priority in their role. Don't make people keep checking in, but keep them involved. 

If you're advising your CEO on communication tone and style ask them to keep it short and provide leadership. Ask them to try not to tell personal anecdotes during these communications as empathy may come across as self-indulgent or combative.

What is HR's Specific Role?

Within the HR function, you need to coordinate between local HR people and your corporate HR structure to make sure that you can provide services to the local team in the country where the emergency has happened.

You need to create separate communication plans for the employees who were part of the emergency and the employees who work with people who are in the emergency area.

Use your existing plans to coordinate your staff and provide as much support as possible to your employees. Once the emergency is over, you need to review your performance and document the skills you have learned. If there are people that need to be acknowledged for their commitment or for their heroism, take the time to formally do that.

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1 comment:

  1. Although hr managers typically have an important part to play in liaising with staff members with respect to their working arrangements . HR can do to plan and prepare for such natural disaster. Thanks.

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