Preparedness + Compassion
On behalf of Inspire Human Resources, our thoughts are with all of those impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
As a New York-based firm, I recall going through 9/11 (sixteen years ago) as well as Hurricane Sandy (four Falls ago)—and helping leaders recover. I saw firsthand that preparedness and compassion are key to rebuilding.
Our Advice to Leaders
Natural disasters are untimely and can quickly throw routines into disarray. With September being National Preparedness Month, it is the perfect time to reflect on current events, and how to improve on your organization’s readiness. We urge leaders to take these steps to manage crises:
1. Review your emergency preparedness plan.
- Validate that employee contact information is current
- Share the most recent plan via email, in team meetings, town hall gatherings and/or on the company intranet for ease of access in case of an emergency.
- Identify methods to communicate relevant information (text message, email, voicemail system, website, and/or social media).
2. Be the shock absorber.
- It is crucial that leaders set the tone at the top and be solution-oriented, even if you and your team are not directly impacted by the emergency.
- Employees in the tri-state area may not be directly impacted by the recent natural disasters, but may be on high alert due to overall concern for our country, or family, friends, and colleagues in affected areas.
- Be prepared to address your staff’s worries to reduce the effects of nervous tension.
3. Address your company’s work from home policy.
- Ensure it includes severe weather and emergency policies.
- If employees aren’t able to safely commute to work, they should be aware of how and when to work from home, and if necessary, which key team members should attempt to connect remotely if the office is closed.
4. Clearly state whether employees are paid for emergency office closings.
- I recommend that companies pay all employees on days when the office is closed: It’s the right thing to do for the brand and reiterates to employees that you value them and their safety.
Here are examples of what companies do to better prepare for emergencies:
- Marriott crafts unique emergency response plans for each property. The hotel chain also audits their hotel safety procedures, and regularly ask guests for feedback on the hotel’s safety and security.
- ExxonMobil established emergency support groups with representatives from several business lines to develop the most competent crises management.
- Villanova University states in their Emergency Closing policy that in the event of a university closing, non-essential staff are released from their duty to report and are paid their normal pay rate. Essential employees who must report to work are paid twice their pay rate.
Here are examples of companies that assisted those affected by these recent devastations:
- Anheuser-Busch paused their production line to prepare over 410,000 cans of emergency drinking water to aid Hurricane Harvey response efforts.
- Inspire HR client Hess donated $1 million to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, and is also offering a matching gift program for its employees.
- Etsy, another Inspire HR client, helps provide financial assistance to its sellers whose Etsy businesses were impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Etsy will match donations made through partner CERF+ up to $100,000.
If you or your firm are interested in donating to the communities directly impacted by the recent hurricanes, here are some organizations accepting contributions and volunteers:
- The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) is coordinating donations and volunteers for those affected by the recent hurricanes.
- The American Red Cross is accepting donations by phone and online. Donors may also call 1-800-RED-CROSS.
If you find that your organization requires assistance in emergency preparedness, please don’t hesitate to reach out at (917) 612-8571 or [email protected]. We’re here to help!