Elearning! October-November

October-November 2013

Elearning! Magazine: Building Smarter Companies via Learning & Workplace Technologies.

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safety intensifes the damage from a crisis. Reputation and fnancial concerns are considered afer public safety has been remedied. Ultimately, crisis management is designed to protect an organization and its stakeholders from threats and/or reduce the impact felt by threats." Tat's from an organizational standpoint. But on a more personal level, a catastrophic crisis can have a crippling efect on employee morale and, ultimately, efciency. So managers must, with some dispatch, deal with employees who might get hurt physically and/or psychologically, notes the Asia Risk Management Institute: "Unfortunately, one of the critical errors in crisis management planning is the strong tendency to focus attention and eforts on systems, operations, infrastructure and public relations, with people coming in last on the list of concerns and hence ofen ending up neglected. Tis is a serious problem; organizations need to pay greater attention to the impact of critical events on employees, their families and the community as a whole for one simple reason: business recovery cannot occur without motivated employees." If the crisis does indeed afect employees (and most do), managers should ofer a compassionate understanding of what the employees must be feeling. Cold communications do not work in a crisis. By Not many learning professionals will face a crisis as devastating as the DAU did in September 2012. But having a set of logical, compassionate, step-by-step written procedures helps get any organization back to speed in the shortest possible time frame. (Photo courtesy DAU) precious memorabilia, pictures and family items. [So] supervisors and HR had to be sensitive to each of their needs. We also got them together discuss their losses, to recognize with themselves and each other possible diferent emotions to expect. "What became very important was to get people taken care of and recover as much as possible of personal efects, relocated, 'It takes 20 years to build a reputation … and fve minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things diferently.' —Warren Bufett speaking honestly and communicating with employees, the crisis will be more likely to pass quickly, allowing the business to get back on track. "Our employees reacted diferently," Dr. Hardy remembers. "Some took it in stride, some went through tough emotional times with the loss of their ofce, intellectual capital on their laptops, their and back on the job. We also had several town-hall-type meetings to discuss as a team their needs and concerns. Later, we conducted a team picnic sponsored by the organization and attended by its president that let us know her appreciation and her support for the future. Te rest of the university coalesced around us the provided emotional support." BACK TO SPEED Once employees' needs are taken care of, organizational needs must be addressed. Tat includes getting a business, department or agency back up to speed as quickly as possible. Follow-up concerns specific to the DAU incident were ongoing communications with the fire department, notifying leadership, relocation, re-equipping and re-location at an alternative work site in order to continue its mission as early as the next day. Depending on the nature of the crisis, leadership must determine the next steps toward ameliorating the damage. (See sidebar.) By taking the proper steps, organizations can recover effectively from any given crisis. But the key is to make it "go away" — in all respects, as quickly as possible. "Within a period of weeks," Dr. Hardy remembers, "our folks were operating again. We had to borrow classrooms when needed, but the lab projects kept going." Te DAU's new TALL facility was to be completed this summer. "We did learn some things," he admits, "so it will be a lot more agile as far as confguration. But the projects — the work itself — never stopped." And that's good crisis management taken to the nth degree. Elearning! October / November 2013 37

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