Global HR Crisis Response 

“69% of business leaders reported experiencing a crisis over a period of five years, with the average number of crises being three.”PWC

Businesses revolve around uncertainties and are bound to fall for setbacks and encounter crises with rapidly evolving business segments. In the context of crisis scenarios, startups and companies are exposed to dealing with unsettled challenges of cybersecurity breaches, financial crisis, supply chain disruption, leadership and management failures, workplace hazards and natural disasters. As the digital space scales, negative publicity on social media also impacts business operations with degraded brand image. Even for established companies, a crisis might appear at any point; we can take the example of the Volkswagen emissions scandal 2015, demonstrating how companies should not overlook crisis management.

Undoubtedly, HR plays a huge role in crafting crisis management strategies that prevent businesses from dissolving due to severe turbulence. For effective management, HRs can pre-plan for coordinated and effective response, contingency measures, proactively assessing risk, transparency, adaptation of regulations and evacuation protocols, and risk mitigation. Depending on the severity of the crisis, businesses can be affected by financial and reputational damages. However, without an action plan and backup strategies, HR must pay the costly price with intense consequences like legal action and penalties. 

To ensure business continuity, HR can implement a comprehensive crisis management plan with risk analysis, response procedure, emergency exit strategy, and post-crisis analysis. While operating on a global scale, management might miss gaps that form the shape of a crisis later on with avoidance. HRs are a big contributor to any crisis management panel, with high power and authorisation in decision-making. They closely work with other stakeholders to develop effective solutions and communicate them properly to the workforce. 

From feedback to the response loop, HR is a highly credible and authoritative department that establishes the structure of crisis management processes.

Recently, the COVID outbreak has been the biggest global crisis, affecting major industries and destroying established businesses within a few months. Organisations supporting employees’ safety and well-being, stress management, flexible working arrangements, and transparent internal communications showed faster recovery with a reviving economy. Ian Mitroff, the founder and President of Mitroff Crisis Management, formulated a 6 stage model with respect to crisis management: 1. Signal detection 2. Preparation and Prevention 3. Containment and Damage Control 4. Business Recovery 5. Learning and Lesson Integration 6. Opportunity Recognition.

As the economy evolves, businesses face new challenges that traditional practices might not overcome. New developed crisis management strategies should be confined to digital crisis plans, predictive analysis, resilience planning, stakeholder engagement, crisis simulation and training, streamlined communication, integrated risk management, ethical leadership, and recovery framework. 

Handling unexpected challenges like economic downturns and global pandemics puts HR in a vulnerable position to manage the modern workplace effectively. To navigate uncertainty, leaders must demonstrate clarity, decisiveness, and agility to make easy decision-making with a unified response strategy. Shortening even a small potential gap might help an organisation to deviate from a destructive crisis. Scenario planning and risk assessment are effective measures to develop contingency plans and preventive measures.

Alignment with previous crisis management plans would help HR strategies for a crisis response plan. The significant step would be to conduct a debriefing session to outline workforce core challenge areas and the scope of improvement in HR strategies and support systems. Whatever crisis appears in front of an organisation, like product failure or security breaches, management will struggle to show a comeback with better stability and growth prospects without evaluation and planning for business continuity and disaster recovery. Technology-driven solutions, like Backup as a Service and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), are subtly evolving to scale up with crisis response without any second thought.

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