17 Chapters
Medium 9781576754207

Chapter 4: Taking Care of Employees

McKee, SPHR, Kathryn Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

This chapter covers the following topics:

Taking care of employees immediately after a disaster means making sure they are safe and secure. That’s the overarching issue for the employees and their families. Once that’s taken care of, you need to lead both purposefully and symbolically to get employees out of crisis mode and back to work. Your leadership actions will ease the employees’ anxiety, help to resolve and address the ambiguity of the situation, and provide employees with a sense of purpose, direction, and hope.

The broad actions you must take to deal with the human side of a crisis can be condensed into these seven procedures, generally performed in this order:

The number of times you will repeat the seven-step process depends on the type of disaster, its scope, and the degree of trauma to which your employees are exposed. For example, in terms of the employees’ safety and security, you have to deal with both reality and perception. Sometimes people perceive that they’re in a safe spot but are actually in danger, as in the case of someone driving on roads with downed power lines after a storm to get to family members. At other times people perceive that they’re in a danger zone, such as a person riding an elevator to an upper floor a few months after a building fire or earthquake, but in fact they’re experiencing post-traumatic stress.

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A Sample Telephone Tree

McKee, SPHR, Kathryn Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub
Medium 9781576754207

Chapter 3: Creating Contingent HR Policies

McKee, SPHR, Kathryn Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

This chapter focuses on three areas:

Some organizations develop an overarching Human Resources philosophy that fits their vision or mission. It goes beyond the “Employees are our most precious asset” cliché; it states how you value your workforce and how you exemplify that value through the types of Human Resources programs and policies you establish.

You need to take this philosophy into account when you start your business continuity planning. Your philosophy should be the underpinning of your plan. We also strongly recommend your plan include contingent policies for dealing with HR issues, and that these policies align with the plan and with your HR philosophy.

When developing contingent policies, the business continuity planning team, or a subteam, should discuss with senior leaders the organization’s values as they relate to the treatment of people during times of crisis. These contingent policies, which also should include how you wish to treat your customers and their demands, will serve to support the business and will be especially helpful in achieving a speedy and efficient business recovery.

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Chapter 7: Restabilizing Yourself and the Organization

McKee, SPHR, Kathryn Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

This chapter describes 10 actions you can take to help you get back on your feet and the organization back to profitability.

When the ground shifts—either literally or figuratively—you may find it difficult to regain your balance, much less move forward in a deliberate, planned manner. Yet getting back to business may be just what employees and the organization need. Business as somewhat usual can be a welcome distraction as well as serving as a rallying cause and source of hope for the future. There are also practical reasons—the company needs to make up for lost time in meeting customer needs and demands, keeping competitors at bay, and fulfilling shareholder expectations.

Following are 10 actions you can take—in any order—to accelerate the recovery process for you, employees, and the organization.

Getting back to work and getting back to normal are two different things. You can do the former but not the latter. It’s important to acknowledge this fact as soon as possible. Just as you cannot step in the same river twice, you cannot go back to the way things were before a disaster. Your life and the lives of others have been permanently altered.

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Chapter 2: Developing a Business Continuity Plan That Addresses Human Issues

McKee, SPHR, Kathryn Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

This chapter covers the following topics:

Planning for unknown events that may affect the workplace is akin to developing system requirements for new software. No matter how many bright minds get together to consider all the contingencies, there will be some potential outcome that you overlooked, never dreamed of, or could not have even imagined.

First of all, you must adopt the mindset of planning for when you’ll face a disaster, not if. This will help you view the planning process as a necessity to your work and business, rather than as an abstract exercise that’s using up valuable time.

Second, you have to put a plan on paper, developing a number of worst-case scenarios along the way. What if the entire building were 34to burn to the ground or be destroyed in an earthquake, tornado, flood, or explosion? What if a disaster happens during rush hour? During peak business hours? After hours? How would each of these situations affect your plans? What if a disgruntled former employee or customer came armed to your offices and opened fire, killing employees and/or others? What if one or more buses, bridges, or buildings were bombed? These dreaded events occur more often than we like to acknowledge.

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