Business continuity teams need to be prepared to address many different types of business disruptions. Some, like product recalls or data breaches can have very widespread impact, but do not usually involve employee safety. With incidents such as severe weather, natural disasters, fire or physical violence, however, organizations have serious employee safety responsibilities.
Duty of Care Obligation
Happily, most organizations take their responsibility for ensuring employee safety very seriously. Legally, directors and officers of a corporation are required to meet the Duty of Care in the decisions they make as corporate fiduciaries. Duty of Care requires that a person/company act toward others and the public with watchfulness, attention, caution and prudence that a reasonable person in the circumstances would. If a person’s actions do not meet this standard of care, then the acts are considered negligent, and any damages resulting may be claimed in a lawsuit for negligence. In these cases, it is the plaintiff’s responsibility of proving negligence.
Putting Employ Safety First
Companies with employee-centric business continuity policies reap significant benefits in terms of loyalty and good will. MissionMode customer, Susan Brown, summarizes the value of putting employee safety first for the Argo Group, “The ability to quickly send messages to widely dispersed employee groups and receive responses confirming both message receipt and employee safety has been fantastic. Employees are delighted to be working for an organization where management shows such concern, and the executive team is thrilled to have vital feedback so quickly.” In some situations, local public safety officials get involved providing guidance to employers on actions required to ensure employee safety.
Some critical components of an employee-focused business continuity plan include:
- Managing office closures/early departures for severe weather
- Evacuation planning for weather, violence, fire and other crises
- Safe arrival confirmation and travel support in cases of severe weather
- Providing work-at-home provisions for applicable job functions
- Training/processes on how to handle threats of violence
- Counseling and mental health support services for employees in need
- Disease control procedures in case of epidemic
- Employee Safety vs. Productivity
In this age of increasing mobility, it is irresponsible for organizations to put their employees at risk by forcing them to travel in unsafe conditions. Unfortunately, not every job can be performed remotely. Hospitals, retailers, and utilities are just three examples types of organizations that need staff on hand regardless of the conditions. Operations with continuous staffing obligations need contingency plans and tools in place to manage schedule changes and cover for employees not able to get to work in a crisis.
Ensure Employee Safety with the Right Tools
When Superstorm Sandy hit, it took the Argo Group several days of manual calling to reach all their employees to confirm safety. This event was a wake-up call for hundreds of companies who realized that they were ill prepared to carry out their Duty of Care obligations and maintain service delivery. Successful business continuity teams have plans in place outlining the steps to take to ensure employee safety in the event of an unplanned business disruption, but without the means to quickly communicate with employees these plans can be very difficult to execute.
How To Use This Information
MissionMode’s Notification Center™ allows two-way mass communications with smart automation for personalized message delivery across multiple devices. Message recipients have multiple ways to respond so that employers can assess the wellbeing of their employees in minutes. Our Situation Center™ incident management solution acts as a virtual command center, allowing the business continuity team to manage all aspects of event recovery. Request a demo online, or call 312-445-8811.