There are a lot of uncertainties in the world. One minute your business may be running smoothly, and the next minute there can be a major crisis where operations come to a screeching halt. As an employer, it’s crucial that you’re prepared for whatever comes your way and have a plan of action to handle an emergency crisis. Let’s now dive further into this topic and explain some ways to ensure that your business is ready.
Examples of a Crisis
The term “crisis” can be used to describe a plethora of situations, but it essentially boils down to an incident that’s negative and/or disruptive to business operations. It can adversely impact your staff, customers, information infrastructure, your reputation and profitability.
Some less serious crises include:
- Severe weather such as blizzards and lightning storms
- Power outages
- Computer networks going down
Some more serious examples include:
- Natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes
- Workplace violence such as shootings
- Acts of terrorism
- Outbreaks of contagious diseases like Ebola or swine flu
What is Crisis Management?
Crisis management is defined as “the application of strategies designed to help an organization deal with a sudden and significant negative event.” Simply put, it’s having an up-to-date plan in place to effectively handle a business crisis regardless of the scale. This might include a list of contact information readily available so you can quickly contact all of the necessary parties, training employees on safety protocol to keep themselves and customers safe and knowing how to address news media when an emergency occurs to keep your company’s reputation intact.
A crisis management plan for your business must also take into account the laws and regulations in place to maximize workplace safety. For example, OSHA requires employers to notify them when an accident results in three or more hospitalizations or if there is a fatality. There’s also the Family and Medical Leave Act, which permits employees to have time off without losing their jobs in certain situations.
The Importance of Having a Business Crisis Management Plan
Although there a multitude of reasons that your business should have a crisis management plan, here are some of the biggest:
- It increases the safety and well-being of employees and the general public
- It’s good for public relations and can prevent tarnishing your reputation
- It minimizes downtime and increases productivity
- It gives you more peace of mind as an employer
Potential Resources for Employers
When developing an up-to-date crisis management plan, it’s important to have the right resources to ensure that you understand the details and are compliant with relevant laws and regulations. Here are some extremely helpful resources to get you started:
- Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) – Crisis Management in Today’s Business Environment
- SHRM’s Disaster Prep and Response Resource Page
- OSHA’s Role During Response to Catastrophic Incidents Guide
- The HIPAA Privacy Rule (This covers the protection of health information)
Because of the often unstable and turbulent world that we live in, it’s an employer’s responsibility to ensure the business is prepared to handle a variety of crises. By establishing a crisis management plan, you can give your company the best odds of making it through unscathed and minimize any damage to your reputation and profitability.