Willing and able – Building a crisis resilient workforce

Most crisis response planning assumes that people will turn up for work when they are needed, even during some of the most extreme events. But will this fundamental assumption really hold true? This is the question MWC, in association with King’s College London and Public Health England explored to suggest a model and recommendations for organizations to develop a more crisis resilient workforce.

 

Most existing crisis response plans focus on structures, protocols and processes of an organization’s response whilst leaving the human aspect of response to chance assuming that people will turn up for work even during the most extreme events.

But our research uncovered that in certain more severe scenarios, this assumption may not hold true and organizations need to find ways to improve the situation.

To do so they should consider the following points to build a crisis resilient workforce:

Human factors – understand how people may respond and why

Organizations should remove any assumptions about employees’ willingness to come to work in a time of crisis and recognize that risk perception is a key determinant of willingness. To palliate this issue organizations should make sure that people understand the importance of their role and adopt an inclusive approach when developing the crisis response plan to embed and address employees’ concerns.

Information and communication – tell them what they need to know

Organizations should ensure they educate their employees on the actual risk presented by different crisis. When a crisis does occur it becomes important to provide accurate and authoritative information about the situation. Organizations should consider what the authoritative sources of information might be and where or how they can be accessed and used as part of their planning considerations. Also, they should provide staff with recommendations and give clear reasons for those recommendations.

Organizational interventions – provide practical support

In order to increase employees’ willingness to come to work during a crisis organizations need to consider remote access availability, logistical support that could make it easier for employees to get into work as well as provide incentive such as psychological care or medicine to help them cope with the crisis.

 

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