Hurricane season is now upon us, but a crisis (weather-related or otherwise) can strike at any time of the year. Through planning and preparation for managing its human resources (HR), counties can help their operations run smoother during a crisis, according to TAC Human Resources (HR) Consultants.
The following responsibilities should be delegated to county staff in advance to help the county better function in crisis:
- Compile a working list of employee names, addresses, home and cell phone numbers, email addresses and emergency contact information.
- Determine who will work with emergency responders in the county and provide for their basic needs.
- Determine who will be coordinating payroll and benefit issues. Determine the hardware, software or supplies needed and whether there should be an alternative for offsite preparation of payroll.
- Protect and calm employees, keep them updated and address any grief issues.
- Handle discipline issues and evaluate the legality of employee responses and retaliation concerns.
- Coordinate communication between insurers and benefit providers.
- Manage pay and benefits for disrupted employees.
- Obtain information about injured and killed employees.
- Prepare through training, procedures including documentation of employee action plans, emergency response plans, fire prevention plans, personnel policies etc.
The following HR considerations should be addressed in case the county experiences a long-term disruption:
- Have a contingency plan when a site becomes inaccessible.
- Have a policy in place regarding remote work and telecommuting.
- Have a plan to inform employees, vendors and the public of changed roles.
- Determine if attendance rules need to be changed and how to inform employees of when, where and how to report to work.
- Determine who is responsible for employee communication and how you will communicate to employees. Will you text or call employees, or use TV or radio announcements?
- Have a plan in place to continue to pay employees during a disruption. What alternative plans will be in place if banks are closed or direct deposit is no longer available?
- Determine how or if will you compensate for non-routine work.
- Determine how you will handle layoffs, terminations and reduced schedules.
Learn more about how your county can prepare. See “16 Human Resources To-Dos Before a Crisis Hits” to learn about additional important steps to take before an emergency strikes.
Members of the TAC Risk Management Pool (TAC RMP) have access to Human Resources Consultants who can provide additional employment-related advice on the topics covered in this article, as well as on-site training, human resources policy manual reviews and more. For additional information, contact TAC RMP at (800) 456-5974.