HR’s Impact on Emergency Management Effectiveness
Include Human Resources in your emergency management team to prioritize personnel safety and maintain business continuity. HR plays numerous important roles before, during, and after crises. Here are just a few: provide valuable insight for the emergency action plan, manage staffing during a crisis, and assist with emergency communication triaging.
HR and the Emergency Action Plan
Even if another department will be taking the lead when actually implementing the emergency action plan, Human Resources deserves a voice in designing it. No one knows the staff better than HR. First of all, this department can help identify specific personnel needs that might arise during a crisis. For example, HR knows about conditions like disabilities that may necessitate evacuation or emergency communication assistance for certain employees. Secondly, HR can help identify staff with the right knowledge and training to take on certain roles during a crisis. If you need a representative from the physical facilities staff who can help plan evacuation routes and name potential hazards, HR can probably help you find the right person to ask.
HR and Staffing Management
Consult with HR in advance regarding staffing management issues that may arise during a crisis to ensure you’re on the same page. These issues can include scheduling, alternative work sites, and compensation changes.
First, a crisis situation may necessitate adjusting work schedules. HR will manage the logistics for employees working overtime, working non-traditional hours (such as 24/7 operations), and job-sharing. Discuss crisis staffing issues like essential and nonessential personnel designations in advance. Second, a crisis may render a worksite unfit for usual operations. Human Resources can arrange for alternative worksites or telecommuting opportunities when necessary. Knowing about these alternative arrangements in advance will also be helpful for emergency communication planning. Third, some disasters call for unemployment compensation, hazard pay, and payroll delivery changes that HR deals with.
HR and Triaging Crisis Communication
Every site, organization, and community needs an effective emergency alert & communication system to announce the start of a crisis and provide updates throughout the event. Human Resources has access to crucial employee information such as where they work, when they’re traveling, how they can be best reached, and what their specific job functions are. Consult with HR regarding any new or existing crisis communication plans to ensure everyone will receive the pertinent crisis messages.
Consulting HR is especially important when it comes effectively planning personal communication designed to only reach relevant personnel. “If you have a large group of traveling employees, for example, you can sync your organization’s travel data with your notification system to create dynamic groups,” HR Technologist reports. “If you have 10 employees booked in a hotel in Tokyo, those employees could be part of a dynamic Tokyo group, along with other employees who live and work in the area.” That way, those employees can receive crisis messages relevant only to them.