| 3 May, 2020 | 6 Min Read

Strategic guide to post-crisis management for HR

Know the importance and benefits of having a post-crisis management plan. It also features the roles HR can play to help make this plan efficient.

The COVID-19 outbreak has been the biggest crisis organizations have faced in years. Like any other crisis, the top priority for any company looking to recover from it is to create an employee-oriented post-crisis management plan. Such a plan will make employees feel valued and motivate them to contribute to the recovery of the company.

For this plan to be effective, companies have to react fast. Actions, like having an HR contingency plan or using pre-made emergency email templates to alert employees in seconds, would make a lot of difference.

To create an employee-oriented plan, HR has to be at the forefront of the planning. After all, disaster is about the people and Human Resources is about humans.

The importance of post-crisis management and the role of HR

Many companies do not have a post-crisis management plan. Those who do see no reason to check if that plan fits well with their organization. The reason for this oversight is that these companies do not know the benefits of post-crisis management. This raises the question, what are the benefits of having a post-crisis management plan?

  • Ensure safety of employees: Without a clear post-crisis plan, employees may panic and take matters into their hands. On the other hand, having a good plan would help the company give out information that will calm employees. This will help keep them and their families safe in times of crisis.
  • Retain employees: Having a management plan proves to your employees that you care about their well-being. It shows their welfare, safety, and well-being are important to you. If post-crisis management has not been executed properly, rival companies might use their employee welfare scheme to snatch your best talents.
  • Reduce absenteeism: Crisis tends to disrupt the workflow of a company. Unless there is a solid post-crisis management plan to guide employees, it is likely they abandon their job or refuse to resume on time. This will be due to the lack of communication on the part of the company.
  • Reduce low morale: Failure to pay attention to your employees in the aftermath of a disaster might lead to a lack of motivation. The feeling that they are not important to the organization can result in lower productivity. Having a post-crisis management plan that deals with motivating employees and easing them back to work will definitely go a long way.
  • Disaster recovery: Being caught off-guard by a crisis does not mean you cannot bounce back as soon as possible. A good post-crisis management plan will help guide you through the complicated aftermath of any crisis. It will help you recover quickly.

Now that we know the importance of post-crisis management, here are what HR can do to help the company manage the aftermath of a crisis:

  • 1. Planning

With the help of HR, employers should come up with specialized planning in the advent of a crisis - like having an outbreak management plan before encountering one. This plan will take into account every likely scenario employees might face as a result of such a problem.

Frequently asked questions related to the crisis such as the person-in-charge or necessary actions should be included in the plan. Also, seminars and training can be organized in advance to enlighten employees on how to navigate potential crises. This plan, with the help of HR, will tackle both short-term and long-term crisis problems.

  • 2. Communication

Post-crisis communication will help inform employees about the company’s next steps. HR can help their companies in this aspect by creating new channels of communication and providing regular updates to employees after the crisis. By communicating right, employers will clarify employees post-crisis concerns like the future of the company and measure being put in place for their safe return.

  • 3. Other responsibilities

There may be a need for hiring immediately after a crisis. New employees may be needed to replace or temporarily stand-in for affected employees. This could be vital if your business is in the medical, hospitality, or other similar sectors.

HR also needs to check up on affected employees physically. A visit to them while they are recuperating, provision of incentives/shelter, etc. will convince affected employees the company cares about their welfare.

How you can effectively manage the aftermath of a crisis

In the aftermath of a crisis, here is a step-by-step process to help HR teams manage their company’s recovery process:

6 steps to manage the aftermath of a crisis

  1. 1
    Assess your company
  2. 2
    Get information
  3. 3
    Check on your employees
  4. 4
    Control the situation
  5. 5
    Business recovery
  6. 6
    Lessons learned
  • Assess your company

The first step after a crisis is to assess its impact on your organization and employees. Every part of the company ranging from operations to assets and processes must be taken into account during this evaluation. By measuring the impact on your business, your company will be able to respond effectively.

For example, assessing the crisis impact on business operations will help you know what part of the business can be continued remotely, the employees available to work from home, etc.

  • Get information

Companies should get the right information about the situation from reliable sources like government organizations, health services, etc. This would help them know the precautions to take, the places to stay away from, and all other vital information they will need to relay to their employees.

  • Check on your employees

Next, get in touch with your employees by sending them regular update emails or other communication methods including the company's social media page or intranet. The main aim of this is to check up on them and relay the information you got from reliable sources. Also, it will help you know if any of your employees are personally affected by the disaster.

Having emergency email templates is necessary at this stage. It will help the HR team achieve this fast and efficiently.

Other information you could pass across includes the stipulated date of resumption (if the crisis end is near), a promise to keep in touch (if the crisis is not ending soon), and if employees will get paid.

  • Control the situation

Some crises such as disease outbreaks or natural disasters take time to blow away. However, this does not mean the company cannot move on with certain processes and operations. Companies need to try to control the situation at this stage.

For instance, if you are hiring for a position before the crisis, you can continue by adopting the use of online video interview tools. That way, you can reach your candidates and move forward with your recruitment process.

  • Business recovery

The stress associated with trauma should be dealt with quickly. Employees should be slowly eased back into work. Those who have a problem or two left as a result of the crisis should be assisted and given time off to recover. Candidates should also be immediately lined up to fill vacant positions left by dead or recuperating employees.

  • Lessons learned

Every crisis should be seen as a source of knowledge. An evaluation must take place immediately after work resumes. This will answer questions like “What have we learned from this?”, “What did we do right?”, and “What should we work better on?”. Actions of the members of the crisis management team should also be analyzed to help them learn from any mistakes made during the crisis period.


Final thoughts:

The involvement of HR in post-crisis management has helped incorporate employees’ welfare into the plan. Companies that adopt this approach recovers from crisis faster than those that focus on process or infrastructure oriented strategy. With this employee-focused step-by-step management plan, HR teams will be able to assess their companies and communicate with employees better. As a result, your company will be able to protect your employees and resume operations early.

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