Management Outside the Box

When did Noah build the ark?

The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us one thing, we are unprepared. Look at how many companies and even governments were caught off guard. The transition to work from home (WFM) was difficult for many companies and caused disruptions throughout the business world. This is why companies need to have plans in place for emergency situations.

When I was an aircraft dispatcher we had a folder right above our desk with emergency plans for multiple situations and part of your training was reading every plan. If a plane crashed we had a plan, if a plane was unresponsive mid flight we had a plan. This is just an example but this is the kind of planning that has to be done for every business.

Every company should have an Emergency Planning Committee (EPC) that meets regularly and plans for emergency situations. Of course most companies have plans for fire, shooters, tornados, hurricanes, ect. But there should be plans for what to do after these events, how are you going to continue operations? These EPC’s should not only plan for the emergency itself but plan for the aftermath. The planning needs to be creative, plan for things that seem like they will never happen, let’s face it no one thought a global pandemic was going to happen. Plans also need to be constantly reviewed and updated, nothing is static and the world is ever changing, so plan for it.

Most companies weren’t prepared for a pandemic and were scrambling for headsets and other supplies. Having a dedicated WFH component of the workforce would have given these companies a leg up on the competition. A WFH component would not only be able to keep operations running during disasters but would teach managers how to support a WFH workforce if the entire workforce would have to transition to WFH status again.

An often overlooked aspect of emergency preparation is the workforce, not what to do with them but what they think. EPC’s should include the workforce not just management, the best plans require input from all levels of the company. There should be EPC’s at the upper management level, the middle management level, office management level and workforce level. All these groups should share information and work together to build on ideas and put together the best plan for all parties involved. If you have a large workforce they should be broken up into smaller working groups that then come together and build a consensus to pass on to the other management EPC’s. Smaller groups will allow more people to have input and help ideas build a grow faster, the larger a group is the more a few people will overpower their coworkers and hurt the creativity of the group.

Another key aspect is to make sure every employee knows what the plans are and how to find them. Unless you’re a small company it would be best to put together a website on your company intranet where every employee has access so they can always have access. These plans should also be mandatory reading for new hires, it should be every employees responsibility to know what the plans are. Employees shouldn’t have to know every detail of all plans but should at least know the basic outline and how to find the details on the company intranet. An informed employee is a confidant and happy employee.

So when did Noah build the ark? Before the rain.

Below I will link to resources to help build your Emergency Planning Committee

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