Coronavirus: Simple Steps for Organizations

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March 10, 2020

As one of the most deadly, untreatable viruses spreads around the world, I am getting inundated with questions about people strategy and how best to respond.  The issue is the amount of information, and misinformation, about how best to prepare.  With that in mind, I am creating a shortlist of simple steps HR and other organization leaders can take to do both.

  1. Keep yourself up to date- Information paralysis is a real thing.  In order to avoid this, take charge and follow the progression of the virus on your own.  Here are a few sites you’ll need:
      • Center for Disease Control (CID)- Provides information on what you should know, situation updates, travel information/ advice, and  more.
      • World Health Organization– Provides rolling, global updates.  Also provide articles on how best to deal with the dangers as the virus spreads.
      • Worldometer Case Count–  This site gives the total case count and deaths.  It is continuously updated.  It also provides information by country.
  2. Avoid the extremes- To the point above about information paralysis, limit where you’re getting information.  It’s easy to get overwhelmed with tv, radio and social media stories.  Quarantine yourself from as many of those as you can and remain focused on the facts.  The truth about how best to respond is somewhere in the middle of “the sky is falling” and “do nothing, it’s not a real problem.”
  3. Assess your current programs- Most organizations have a disaster preparedness plan.  While many do not identify health emergencies specifically, use the same process/ approach/ methodology when creating your company response.  Consider:
      • How will operations need to run if employees are infected or quarantined?
      • Revise or amplify your remote working policy.
      • Consider travel restrictions for a period of time, both in country and out-of-country
      • Contact your technology vendors to determine if there are features/ functionality in the software that can support new processes or virtual work scenarios
  4. Create or tweak response- If you have not communicated to your employees, DO SO NOW!  If you have, continue to either reiterate the company stance, or send out timely revisions.  Employees are far less likely to panic when they feel their company has a secure approach.
  5. SUPPORT- Most importantly, SUPPORT all individual employee decisions.  If an employee is not comfortable being in an office setting or traveling on business (regardless of your company policy), work with the employee to find ways to either work remote, take time off, etc.  Understanding that some people are not scared, but others are terrified, will ensure you’re treating all employees like their opinion is valued.  It’s not about being “right” in this moment, it’s about being human and caring about the physical and mental health and wellbeing of ALL employees.

So, print this out, email copies to your company leaders, or share with anyone you think will benefit.  As a very wise mentor of mine always says, “Don’t lose your head.”  This applies to business in general, and in times of emergency preparedness as well.

Be safe. Feel free to share your ideas and approaches in the comments.

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.

HR HAPPY HOUR LIVE! TALENT ACQUISITION & ONBOARDING

THE FUTURE OF WORK

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