In light of current events it is important that we look at the unique aspects of human resources management in a crisis. This can also be useful in light of other times and events that disaster or crisis may occur. Management need to encourage, guide and take care of staff especially in the digital industry. Many digital companies have staff locally, internationally and in offices and each group has their own needs. No matter which group we are managing we should ensure we follow all government guidelines issued fromWellington and your individual state.
Many of your staff may work remotely from various corners of the globe. Some may work while travelling. This may be a scary time for many of them. If you have staff working as digital nomads there are some things you can do to help them during a crisis. You can:
- Check up on them to make sure they are safe and feeling secure.
- Remind staff in remote places to contact their nearest embassy.
- Give them deadline extensions where possible.
- Encourage staff to return home in case of pandemics, war and natural disasters.
- Allow staff returning from travel time to adequately self isolate (if required).
- Give returning staff some time to contact Studylink, IRD, DoT, banks and WINZ.
- Be patient. Understand that staff returning from overseas after an extended period of time will need time to adjust. Hearing another language being spoken, adapting to cultural values and societal changes can all take a toll on someone’s mental and emotional wellbeing. This can reduce the brain’s ability to work as normal.
Staff who live and work in New Zealand but work remotely may still be facing stress at this time. Panic and anxiety can influence our ability to work to a high standard. Our staff will need reassurance that we are thinking of them in difficult times, not just during disease outbreaks, but also during natural disasters such as earthquakes. In order to help your in-country staff you should:
- Apply for Government assistance for your staff. This is vital if your organisation is financially affected and you can no longer pay your staff full wages. This also applies to office staff.
- Keep the lines of communication open. Managing staff well requires maintaining a good standard of communication and a good relationship.
- Check in regularly with staff living in high risk or badly affected areas.
- Send your staff Government updates that could influence them and their work habits.
- Postpone all conferences and meetings if needed. Some staff may not want to stop attending out of fear or a desire to escape whats happening in the world.
If you still have staff working in the office you will need to take a hands on approach to human resources management. During a crisis our staff look to us to sustain stability in an uncertain environment. We must ensure that we are not only caring for our staff well but also following health guidelines and emergency management procedures. We can:
- Use any lockdown procedures as any opportunity to inspire our staff and encourage them in their roles when they are working from home.
- Turn those unnecessary meetings into e-mails and the necessary ones into Zoom or Skype calls. This limits staff contact reducing the chance of any infection.
- Allow staff living with children, elderly people or immune suppressed family to work from home.
- Remind staff to stay calm.
- Do what we can to maintain some stability and routine.
- Ensure we immediately implement any government guidelines and Ministry of Health regulations.