During an emergency situation, whether a natural disaster like a hurricane or an active violent situation, employees will be asking a myriad of questions. Should I go to work or do I stay home after a disaster hits? Are we open for business? Am I an essential employee? These are typical questions employees often ask themselves when a disaster hits after operational hours and, impact operations. Emergency communication with staff before a disaster is often overlooked but can be addressed easily.
Your first step
Identify employees who are essential to the maintenance and/or restoration of core functions. Essential employees should ideally reside within close proximity of the business and are vital to operations. Staffing level should be kept to a minimum and only employees classified under this category should report for work when the disaster hits or post disaster.
Establish a communication tree
One tree should be essentials, (i.e. President, CEO, CFO, Ops Mgr, IT Mgr, etc.) and their contact information. The second communication tree are non-essentials and would provide an operational update. Depending on the comfort level of your business, the communication method could be via phone, text messaging, or email. It could also be a combination of all or some of those methods. Determine what method works for your staff and be consistent with it. Ensure that your employee contact information is up to date.
Initiate the communication tree
Designate a staff member ahead of time and delegate the responsibility of contacting employees of the respective Communication Trees. Each tree should also have a person responsible for each branch of the tree, who will contact everyone in their designated branch. Be mindful that communication starts Pre-disaster. Depending on the level of the disaster, plan on when and what information should be released. A pre-drafted script stating what your message to your employees is recommended.
Consider a hotline
A hotline or message notification system is an effective and easy way for employers and employees to communication during an event. Employees can call in to the hotline and receive update without having to speak to a live voice.
Information is provided via a pre-recorded scripted message providing detailed instructions or information for staff.
Communication is the key
Effective emergency communication will clear up any confusion that may occur during an event. Stay connected to your employees and keep them posted during a disaster!!
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