An effective crisis management plan is something every business should have. In today’s interconnected world, information spreads like wildfire; be it good news or bad. In a matter of minutes, hundreds will be privy to new information. In several hours, tens of thousands of people will be reached. In such a climate it is not a matter of ‘if’ you face a crisis; it is a matter of ‘when’.

To effectively deal with a crisis, a company must react swiftly and correctly when such a situation arises. Being prepared involves building the capacity of employees to tackle disasters by equipping them with the knowledge to make the right decisions to weather the storm.

HR teams are an indispensable part of the crisis management plan as they are required to ensure a company’s response takes into account the health, safety, and welfare of employees. Through collaboration with other organisational leaders, HR can assure that employees are both prepared and taken care of in times of crisis.

Developing a fully integrated crisis plan
HR leaders should work closely with other key organisational personnel in identifying the types of emergencies the company might face. Once these threats are identified, HR teams should assess and plan out the required resources that are needed to maintain current business operations should such a disaster occur.

Establish a crisis management team
A crisis management allows for individuals to come together and formulate policies and guidelines that will be followed during times of crisis. This team will be responsible for coming up with all possible outcomes and crises that might arise and formulate multiple contingency plans based on such crises. Some examples of crisis plans include:

  • Emergency Response Plan: including evacuation, sheltering and lockdown.
  • Crisis Communications Plan: describing how to efficiently communicate with employees, customers, the media and stakeholders.
  • Business Continuity Plan: listing strategies to overcome the disruption of business.
  • IT Plan: including recovery of computer hardware, connectivity and data.

Focus on communication and training
The HR team is also responsible for communicating all crisis information and plans to the employees of a business. It is imperative that every employee knows their role and what they need to do during a time of crisis. It is also just as important that HR communicates information effectively to all employees so that they are aware of the type and scope of a crisis; allowing them to take appropriate action to resolve it. Training for a crisis is essential, but proper communication during a crisis ensures that said training does not go to waste.

Planning for the recovery
It is not over even after a crisis has passed. When a crisis occurs, a business will always be left worse off than before, no matter how well a crisis is handled. As such, HR will have to plan ahead to ensure the company gets back on its feet to recover what was lost.

Immediately after a crisis, employee morale will likely be low. The stress that is associated with undergoing a business disaster has to be dealt with promptly. If a crisis was handled poorly, HR must have a backup plan to keep employees motivated to fix the issues that remain. With proper planning and effective handling of the crisis situation, the recovery period can be relatively short, thus allowing business to get back on track.


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