Exclusive B21 Survey: Most Companies at Huge Risk if a Crisis Occurs

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If you’re like most HR directors, your level of preparedness for a major crisis falls somewhere around “sorta, but not really.”

If you’re like most HR directors, your level of preparedness for a major crisis falls somewhere around “sorta, but not really.”

A new Business 21 Publishing survey suggests that at most companies setting aside the time to create an in-depth crisis-management plan gets pushed to the bottom of the priority list. Only 12% of HR directors in our survey “have all the bases covered.” Forty-three percent admit they’re not prepared adequately or are completely unprepared.

What you can do:

To identify your readiness for a disaster, disruption, or a downturn, compare your preparations with the following crisis-survival steps, recommended by crisis-management consultant Jan Decker.

1. Define HR’s role. What is HR’s role during a disaster, disruption or downturn? What do you need to have in place to do your job? Technological solutions are helpful, and don’t have to be expensive – a laptop can access the Internet via cell phones, for example.

Critical info can be posted on the Web to notify employees (“cell phone trees” work, too) what to do, where to report, and the like. But you need to be able to contact your Webmaster to upload the info.

2. What HR data needs to be protected and how can you assure you keep the data confidential? The recent loss of a laptop that contained the names of thousands of veterans (including Social Security numbers) highlights the risk. Have offsite data backups, and controls in place to guarantee only the right people can access the info.

3. Who depends on you, and who do you depend on? Outside vendors are the key here. Can you get payroll data to your vendor, and does your vendors have its own plans for communication in a crisis?

4. Who has and is responsible for emergency contact info? How can you access it? (We’d recommend both a Website – the Internet is pretty robust, designed to survive a nuclear attack on the U.S. – and hard copies.) Can communication go both ways, from employees to you, and you to employees. How?

6. Do you have emergency auxiliary services for people in a disaster? Who will provide crisis counseling to employees and staff. Are emergency benefits available?

7. Do you have pre-disaster training? What training and awareness programs should be in place to prepare? What are you required to implement via the government (especially for pandemic illness).

8. Do people know emergency job assignments? A disaster could impact what people do. Do they know what their assignments are?

9. Do you have a plan for emergency hires? You may need to get people in a hurry. In some cases, you may want to be prepared to outsource some functions. In others, you may need emergency hiring protocols.

Source: Jan Decker, Crisis Management Consulting.

UPCOMING AUDIO CONFERENCE: Learn more about crisis management by attending an audio conference Business 21 Publishing will conduct on August 3, 2006 entitled "Crisis Management for HR: 10 Action Steps to Take Right Now."

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