HR must be at forefront of crisis management plansOn 28 Oct 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article HR should be at the centre of crisis management plans, but too manycompanies only make the necessary preparations after a disaster, according tosecurity professionals. Risk experts, speaking at Managing in a Crisis at the Chartered Institute ofPersonnel and Development (CIPD) conference in Harrogate, said HR is vital forthe creation of a culture of awareness of safety risks, and should be preparedto tackle the aftermath of a crisis. However, many UK employers still leave crisis management to chance due topatchy preparations and putting IT systems before their staff, it is claimed. Rosie Clifford, head of group crisis management at Shell International, saidHR should be prepared to step into the ‘information vacuum’ in the aftermath ofa crisis, to deal with speculation and rumour and to offer direct support forfamilies. HR also has to consider tensions in a multi-racial workforce and payattention to time zones, language and cultural barriers, while havingcomprehensive site information and next-of-kin details, she said. “Unfortunately, a lot of companies get ready after a crisis,” shesaid. “This is an area that can easily be neglected, but which can have adevastating impact on both employees and on the reputation of thecompany.” William Farmer, director of counter-terrorism and political risk atconsultants Aon, said the UK was one of the world leaders in terrorismawareness, but across industry, preparation for crises was ‘highly variable’. “We are not all going to work in fortresses, but to respond properly,you need a plan,” he said. “If you haven’t formulated a plan, you areon a very sticky wicket.” Farmer recommended companies adopt training workshops, where management facesimulated crisis scenarios to prepare them to make good decisions should theworst happen. By Michael Millar Related posts:No related photos.