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HR Support



HR Support Support Provision in a Crisis

HR Teams deal with various workplace situations on a day to day basis. From employee relations to performance management, HR professionals are expected to be adept in responding to any issues or concerns that arise within the workplace that may have a negative impact on the business itself. Issues such as these arise more frequently than we would like, but as organisations tend to have policies and procedures in place relating to these everyday challenges, the situation is generally easier to manage. But how to you deal with the unexpected?

Over the past decade the UK has experienced terrorist attacks, riots, an ash cloud and extreme weather. HR teams across the country have had to deal with the repercussions and effects of these unforeseen situations on businesses with little or no planning. The impact these circumstances have had on businesses generally relates to their operations and physical facilities due to employee absence and property damage. Furthermore, research suggests that extreme weather, high winds and floods are the top cause of disruption to businesses in 2011.

Although predicting situations such as this is impossible, employers should consider putting a business continuity plan together that addresses these areas in order for the business to remain operational in times of crisis. As every incident has a people element, HR professionals should be heavily involved in the planning and preparation stage. Organisations who expect their employees to be responsive and adaptable under difficult circumstances should request the input of HR in terms of communication, policy documentation, personal information and training.

Employee contact details should be kept up to date and checked regularly, evacuation drills and role playing exercises should be organised and a clear method of communication established in order to provide employees with updates and details of what is going on. This is vital for any emergency process to be effective as it eliminates potential scare mongering and ensures employees remain as calm as possible in a potentially stressful situation. HR professionals should also consider the psychological effect on employees and how they can provide support in terms of occupational health and employee assistance programmes.

As a minimal measure, organisations should be ensuring that they are fulfilling their obligations in terms of duty of care and health and safety regulations. These legal measures will go part way to providing support and security for employees on a day to day basis, but organisations looking to prepare for potential emergencies or unexpected incidents will need to go much further and start formulating a plan.