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Caribbean HR: A Crisis Response

Updated: Mar 14, 2022

There is crisis around us world wide that we all relate to, such as the effects of the

pandemic on the lives lost and their families, and the way we work (especially in the health sector), which involves continuous collaboration efforts with HR and other departments in numerous companies unlike ever before in our time. Working in HR, we know, wherever there are employees involved there is always a human resource management element that supports the work being done either directly or indirectly.

As such, as HR leaders we should always be 'present' & aware of what's happening when it comes to employees and their work, within the companies we represent, regardless of if there is a crisis or not.

Generally, on the job we try as much as possible to avoid negative circumstances from happening, with the support of our policy implementations and enforcing, as well as our health and safety experts. These two go a long way in ensuring the incident/accident report numbers are non-existent, low or monitored for improvements when accident counts are high.

For the instances when accidents do occur, some have grave circumstances and very negative impact for both employees and the business, at times being as a result of the nature of the accidents themselves. Its important that HR ensures the human side of the company is shown by impacting on the situation in at least the following two ways: Using previously prepared (and adjusted for the current situation):

1. Communication Templates for each potential stakeholder

These stakeholders are usually those that are directly impacted by &/or closely associated to the crisis being managed. This includes but isn't limited to communication to the Employee and their Emergency Contact, Employee's Manager and Co-workers, and Customers. Commonly defined templates are the flooding and hurricane alerts.

2. Action Plan with an Active Resource Listing to support the action plan

For instance, if counselling is to be provided to particular stakeholders, this should be outlined in the plan and the service provider should be listed and actively available. The HR/designated person in this action plan should also be aware and already executing their defined role. Commonly practiced preventative action plans are the fire and earthquake drill.

As you know being in the active situation is always more intense than doing a paper write up and is quite the task to overcome the 'in the moment emotions' and execute well. Therefore, HR or their designated representative should also ensure they are actively:

A. Available to respond to questions or concerns from affected employee/s and/or their representative/s (this includes providing status updates and giving time projections of when another update will/can be provided)

B. Professional (calm whilst knowledgeable on the situational facts & relevant policies and practices) in representing themselves to stakeholders on the:

- Affected employee & their concerns

- Impacted company's position/response

A true balance of representation of both stakeholders (the employee and the company) is HR at its best! This allows for the most holistic benefits towards overcoming any given circumstance.

Moreover, doing this reminds our valued stakeholders that HR has and recognises our Human duty to serve and support them, yet still allowing for proper management of the expectations of all parties involved. It goes further to give persons a level of confidence in the company they have been committed to and invested in, prior to the accident. The end result is a supported business and its employees during difficult times, whilst the business stays true to its basic duty as a responsible economic entity.

This article is to encourage you to intentionally get this work done for the event that something occurs and a response is needed from HR. As Warren Buffett, an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist says “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it”. So let's put the work in now as prevention is always better than cure.

Being the representative for the company along key points of the employee's journey, HR, needs to ensure that their teams are ready for managing employee journeys associated with accidents (Not excluding the employees who are indirectly affected by accidents).

NB: "74% of companies who faced a major crisis from 2014 - 2019 sought outside help either during or after their most serious crisis" (PWC). The above serves only as a simplified guide and should be discussed with key experts (such as Employee Experience, Industrial Relations, Legal & Communications Experts) within/external to the company before approving a way forward.

To setup a consultation with our Employee Experience Consultant email us at

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