4 Global HR Practice Secrets to Crisis Management

How are International Brands Managing the Coronavirus Crisis?


The Wuhan coronavirus is continuing to spread and cause mass disruption to 2020. The outbreak is especially concerning in China and businesses are fighting to manage the crisis. Major international brands like Apple and Starbuck operating in China have activated emergency business contingency plans, shutting down operations temporarily to protect the wellbeing of their employees.


Everyone is on high alert as the coronavirus continues to spread. As countries like Singapore strengthen border control in hopes of locking down the virus, organisations are urged to follow suit, handling communications and operations in order to put a hold on the situation.


The matter is especially pressing for businesses with a global presence and operating in China. Implementing business continuity plans, many are weighing out the need for a complete operational shutdown. 


In this article, we’ll be looking at how international business leaders are managing the coronavirus outbreak in their organisations. We’ll also be sharing examples from ISO 27001 certified business continuity frameworks to demonstrate how you may communicate with your employees in the case of a disaster.


Coronavirus: 4 Key Global HR Practices to Crisis Management


An interview with business leaders of global organisations by PRWeek looks at how major businesses are managing the coronavirus outbreak. Here are the  4 key global hr strategies for managing this international epidemic.


Securing Your Employees’ Safety and Wellbeing in a Time of Crisis


A good HR practice is one that looks after its own people. To ensure long term success, business leaders need to look after their key resource, namely their employees. Having an employee safety first values attitude helps positively communicate to internal stakeholders their value in the company, building a sense of brand purpose, and engaging employees in a positive way amidst the panic.


For organisations navigating potential health risks, the wellbeing of employees and their families should always be of utmost importance.

[Lydia Lee, president, Weber Shandwick China]


Stress & Care Management: The Role of a Professional HR Function


Brands should not only work on stopping the spread of the coronavirus but also the spread of misinformation. In the wake of the coronavirus, there’s been a circulation of fake news from unverified sources causing world-wide panic.  As an invaluable operational branch of the organisation, HR professionals need to stay factual in their delivery of information to avoid corporate hysteria.


It’s important to keep the messages simple and factual to avoid any unnecessary panic. They should also collect basic information of employee travel plans during this special period with respect to privacy. 

[Prince Zhang, CEO, Greater China, Ketchum]


Ensuring Business Continuity Through Flexible Working Arrangements


In recent years, more companies have adopted flexible working as an effective way to engage and cater to their employees. With the coronavirus outbreak, many international corporations have opened up their policies allowing for home office and flexible working hours to minimise the risk of human transmission. If businesses don’t want to lose out in the long run, they need to effectively mobilise their operations in a way that maximises productivity without compromising on their employee’s health and safety.


Organisations should include newer additions such as flexible work arrangements and remote working. In an era where technology is at its peak, we should make the best use of it through inclusions of such working arrangements to contain the risks to the workforce and the economy.

[Priyanka Bajpai, regional head, Southeast Asia, SPAG Group]


Reassurance and Transparent Internal Communications


A crucial part of managing a crisis is in establishing control. Corporations need to properly and transparently communicate the steps they are taking so employees are aware of the care that is being extended to them, providing them with reassurance in a time of chaos.


Authentic education about the crisis is not only critical to control the situation, it is very important that brands ensure that the workforce is aware of the proactive and transparent steps taken by their company. 

[Priyanka Bajpai, regional head, Southeast Asia, SPAG Group]


What Should Your Business Continuity  Framework Contain at a Minimum


To properly address a global crisis, companies need to prepare ahead of time by ensuring they have a business continuity management plan. The purpose of a business continuity framework is toinform stakeholders of the policies and actions relevant to the crisis at hand. Here are the 5 key sections covered in best practice contingency plans.


1- Primary contacts in case of an emergency

2- Classification and assessment of crisis by the level of impact

  • Description
  • Maximum tolerable period of disruption
  • Severity
  • Financial and reputational impact
  • Recovery time & objective
  • Recovery strategy

3- Disaster recovery plan

4- Planning and drill

5- Record of revision


Want to better prepare your business? Check out our article “3 Easy Steps to Strategic HR Crisis Management” to learn more!


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3 Key Takeaways to Managing International Crisis


Prepare your business for a catastrophe

The challenge with disasters is you never know when it’ll strike. Preparing ahead of time and having a contingency plan (even one that doesn’t fully apply) is better than none at all. By doing so, even when something novel hits, it will at the very least inform you of the next best possible action to carry out.


Stop company-wide panic before it starts with transparent communication

Whether you’ve already come to an actionable decision or not, it is key that HR effectively communicates with stakeholders so it doesn’t seem like the situation is being overlooked by the company. 

Our employer branding consultancy service is a great way to help you align your internal communications. This way, when a crisis hits, you’ll have the necessary channels ready to engage.


Properly assess the threat by staying informed

In the case of a health epidemic, HR professionals and business leaders need to be updated on the latest precautions. By doing so, they can properly assess what is required to remedy/ suppress the situation, providing employees with the resources and arrangements that best ensures their safety.


Get in touch with one of our representatives today and learn how we can help you streamline your HR.

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