Disaster Management for the Workplace

As Hurricane Matthew gains in strength, the Southeastern portion of the country is in crisis mode. While state and local authorities are busy issuing evacuation orders, employers should be activating their own response efforts. Employers must juggle everything from employee safety to client relations and data recovery. While most employers in the affected areas are experienced in handling natural disasters, many still do not have formal procedures for handling such events.


The key to any successful disaster plan is to have a team identified and trained ahead of time to carry out the plans when the need arises. These team should be identified ahead of time by Human Resources and provided with training and documentation that helps them each carry out their delegated responsibilities for the organization. This team should meet regularly to review procedures and make any adjustments necessary to ensure plans are fresh in their mind and still make sense to accomplish all goals for the organization. Including department leaders can help in the delegation of duties as listed below:

  • Human Resources- Employee safety, employee communications, scheduling, record keeping and benefits.
  • Accounting- Payroll, record keeping, insurance, and budget concerns.
  • Marketing- Mass communication and alerts to clients, vendors, and the general public.
  • IT- Power back up, remote access, data recovery, and systems maintenance.

The first and foremost priority of this team, must be employee safety. For businesses who are located in areas that are prone to natural disasters, instructions should be listed in employee handbooks, described during new hire orientation, and refreshed regularly to ensure any evacuations go smoothly. Once safety is established, employees will need communication on scheduling, payroll, plans for resuming operations, and emergency contact procedures. If you have an employee assistance program (EAP), this information should also be re-communicated as employees may experience tremendous loss and grief during these types of events. If you have access to automated communication systems such as text alerts, email alerts, or automated call messages, employees should confirm their current contact information so they are able to receive communication through these functions. Social media and your website are also a great tool for communicating updates to your staff on non-confidential matters. Please keep in mind that all decisions made regarding employees should take into consideration sanctions by FMLA, WARN, COBRA, and FLSA.

Once employee communication has been handled, communication should be made available to clients, vendors, and the public as needed. Again, mass communication tools can be ideal to communicate changes and updates on hours, operations, contact information, and services available. Online announcements via your website and social media channels are great for updates in real time as things may change at a moment’s notice due to loss of power, building damage, road closures, etc.

Keep in mind that employees and operations may see long term affects following a crisis. Be sure to consult with your legal and risk management teams to ensure that you are prepared for such events both during and after the immediate crisis has ended.

Are you a stand out professional, technical professional, driver, or skilled worker seeking contingent, temporary, or long term career opportunities?  Visit our job board  for more information!  Want to learn more about how you can gain access to Trillium’s national network of professionals and skilled workers? Contact us today!

Trillium, a national leader in staffing and recruitment is a valued staffing partner to over 22,000 companies nationwide. Trillium is privately owned by Oskar René Poch.

Author Bio

Jenna Mathieu

Jenna Mathieu has written 261 post(s) for Trillium Staffing.

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