US events put onus on crisis HR

HR professionals need to re-examine their organisation’s approach to crisis
management following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, according
to the CIPD.

Fran Wilson, CIPD international manager, told Personnel Today that HR should
be taking part in communicating crisis management polices to staff.

"There needs to be pre-incident training. This is where HR has a big
communication role ensuring policies are liaised through all parts of an

"There is also a need to constantly review and update polices in place.
At any time there are new employees and temporary staff who need to be aware of
these arrangements," she said.

There also need to be policies in place to help with any issues on
employees’ return to work. For example, Muslim members of staff may currently
feel threatened.

"Companies need to make sure people remain level-headed, calm and
respectful to all individuals in the workplace," she said.

Adrian Mead, director of consultancy Crisis Management Response, said too
many organisations ignore the psychological impact of a crisis on their
employees when the business is trying to recover from an incident.

He added, "There is a belief that if you give an organisation a
computer and a new office everything is suddenly is back up and running. We
find from the work we do that is not the case."

Mead said it is essential managers are trained in how to react in an
emergency because they will be the leaders during a crisis. The provision of
effective counselling, he added, is also crucial.

He said, "If you ensure people have the necessary skills before an
incident they will recover much more quickly. If they don’t they feel

By Ben Willmott

Crisis management policies must include:

– An agreed method of evacuation

– Some way of contacting and tracking staff

– Pre-designated emergency coordinators

– An effective communication strategy

– Back-up for all personnel records and other essential data

Source: CIPD

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