During crisis, human resource professionals play a critical role. Taking charge of situations during crisis and disaster, the human resource personnel are the first people to contact. They communicate timely to the employees about a crisis and in the event of an emergency. However, there are many challenges to crisis communication faced by HR professionals.
The crucial role of HR to safeguard employees during crisis is through effective communication. Sharing of information during crisis to employees is far different from everyday communication. It needs to take into consideration several factors and address significant challenges such as:
Shortfalls in current crisis communication systems
Most organisations fall short of reaching out to all employees and communicating alerts during emergencies. Most alerts are single channels of communication that lack coordination, hence separate efforts are required to send out text messages, phone calls and so on. This increases the time required to notify employees about a certain crisis situation, and sometimes delay in communication can lead to serious injury or deaths.
Furthermore, employees are not diligent in alerting their respective managers about changes in contact information. Herein, the individual business groups are responsible for their own alerts rather than relying on HR, the contact information as per records might not be up-to-date to alert employees during crisis.
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Another important aspect, where crisis communication systems fail are, when HR managers send notifications by email to employees to evacuate the office immediately, there is no way to track employees who have received the messages and those who have not or been exempted from the list, due to incomplete contact coordinates. This in turn can put more staff members at risks, especially in case of fire breakout accidents.
Networked crisis communication
Networked crisis communication expands reach across number of devices of an employee to inform and distribute alerts during times of emergency. To maximise effectiveness of emergency mass notifications, businesses need to ensure following capabilities:
As businesses continue to grow and adapt to ongoing cultural and technological changes, HR professionals will continue to be at the centre of workplace evolution, to safeguard employees during emergencies.
There is need for effective disaster management planning to ensure better security of employees during uncalled happenings from natural factors, workplace violence or during accidents. Well-networked crisis communication system empowers HR professionals to reach to all staffers quickly during crisis.
Furthermore, training programs should be conducted to support emergency preparedness in the mindset of employees such that company’s valuable human resource is protected at all times. Mock drill exercises should be conducted every three months to test if crisis notification systems are functioning normal, and to bring to light certain employees who are not receiving notification alerts.
Also read: Top 8 People Management Mistakes Made by HR Managers