Human Resources Disaster Preparedness
Are you ready for the next storm?
Is your business prepared for the next disaster? While natural disasters are somewhat rare, in South Louisiana we know it is only a matter of time before the next disaster hits. Do you have a business continuation plan to continue operations after a major storm including employee payroll, site preparation, and employee communication? Do your employees know what their work responsibilities will be in the aftermath of a natural disaster?
Many businesses are not prepared to continue operations with limited resources. The effects of a major storm may result in power outages, employee attendance issues, and damaged infrastructure/ buildings, all resulting in limited business operations that could negatively impact production, communication, and ultimately revenue.
The right time to create and communicate a business continuation plan is now, before a major disaster occurs. The following topics should be reviewed in order to create an effective business continuation plan.
- Know the Vulnerability of your Business – Geographical information and infrastructure knowledge of your building and location will be of great benefit to you and your employees. Elevation is the major factor in determining your vulnerability to storm surge or flooding from area streams, bayous and waterways. This information can be obtained from your local emergency management office, the National Weather Service or other local or state agencies.
- Prepare your Employees – Determine which members of your staff will need to carry out disaster preparations and who you can reasonably expect to be available during and after a storm. Some employees may need to assist their own families or relatives in evacuation from threatened areas. Create and regularly update a list of employee phone numbers and ensure that all managers or department heads have a copy.
- Develop a written plan – This should incorporate a set of disaster task assignments for your staff. Inputs regarding tasks to be accomplished should be solicited from all departments at your facility and should include Production, HR, Payroll, IT, Accounting, Distribution and Security. Critical operations including important database systems, payroll distribution and technical support for internal databases should be covered. This plan should include an activation phase, recovery phase, restoration phase and should be distributed to all employees and updated frequently to ensure accurate and reliable information. Important vendors, suppliers and customers should be aware of your plan to continue business after a natural disaster.
- Alternate Methods of Operation – As employees return to work after a disaster, your business infrastructure may be damaged. Buildings, power supplies and communication systems may not be functioning. The ability of your business to recover operations after a natural disaster will rely heavily on contingency plans that incorporate redundant/duplicate backup systems. This should include secondary power sources/generators, fuel reserves at low impact locations and offsite data storage. Employees who have the ability to complete their job duties from mobile laptops may provide the critical support to overcome interruptions in normal operations.
Disasters have caused tremendous damage to life and property in Louisiana and many businesses have never recovered from the last major storms to hit our region. All business owners should understand their capability for continuing operations in different scenarios during and after a disaster.
Be sure to download our Human Resources Disaster Preparedness Checklist. Add to your calendar to review the list each year at the beginning of disaster season to ensure that you are always prepared.
At Employer Support Services, we have the resources available to assist you with your contingency planning in support of your business operations. For additional information relating to this topic or any of the HR services we provide, please contact us at 225-364-3000, or on the web at www.employersupport.com.
Employer Support Services, Inc.