HR managers retaining staff contact details at home to enable communications in the event of a crisis is a good recommendation ('Coping with the big bang', Personnel Today, 24 January). However, this method of getting a message across is fairly cumbersome and there is a more effective way to communicate to all staff , almost immediately, at the time of a crisis.
When Henkel's Hemel Hempstead facility was damaged by the Buncefield oil depot blast, our crisis team activated its automated, remotely operated staff information line immediately, which proved invaluable as a communications tool.
The information provided in the recorded telephone message ensured that all staff were informed of the current situation and advised them on any particular action they should take on the following day - the first day of the working week.
Information was continually updated in line with changing conditions. During the Buncefield crisis, the staff information line received approximately 2,500 calls from the 324 staff who work at the site, as well as others who were monitoring the situation. The time saved by not having to call each individual member of staff meant the HR team was able to focus all its resources on other pressing aspects of the crisis.
Staff resourcing and development manager