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A Lesson Learned from Workplace Harassment Scandals: Have Good Policies Before a Problem Arises

A Lesson Learned from Workplace Harassment Scandals: Have Good Policies Before a Problem Arises

March 23, 2018 Posted by in Pockestop News, Crisis Communications, Mass Notification

Is your company reviewing your harassment policy? Recently, the #MeToo movement and surrounding stories of workplace harassment left many HR departments scrambling to update harassment policies. Even though the law and sound corporate management have mandated good workplace harassment policies for decades, some companies just didn’t pay enough attention – until now, when workplace harassment has become a hot-button cultural issue. Now, companies that waited are behind the ball (and some are even facing lawsuits). Many companies that waited to review their harassment policies regret it.

That isn’t the only policy you should pay attention to. Your crisis response policy needs to be a priority, too! Crises can happen anytime, and good policies enable a good response. On the other hand, bad—or nonexistent—crisis policies enable a bad response.

If you are an HR or internal communications professional, you should learn this takeaway: even if something isn’t a visible problem right now, you need good policies in place to handle foreseeable problems as they arise! Therefore, you should not wait until a workplace crisis happens to develop crisis communication policies. Develop good policies NOW!

Waiting to build strong internal policies until after a foreseeable problem arises diminishes your employees’ confidence in your company, causes chaos while the problem is handled, and might even open up your organization to potential liability.

So, while your company is reviewing your harassment policies, make sure to review your crisis communication policies, as well.

Below, we have created a checklist of ten things a strong internal crisis communication policy will have:

  1. Clear protocols detailing who on your team is responsible for each step of crisis communications (and who their duties will default to if the point person is unavailable). Don’t waste time delegating during a crisis; know who is in charge!
  2. Coordinated management for any media inquiries or social media conversations about the crisis. (This includes knowing who is authorized to speak to media on behalf of the company!) Often, public relations is housed in a different part of the company than internal communications, so coordinate with them to make sure you are on the same page.
  3. A method for keeping up-to-date and accurate employee contact information. That way, if a crisis happens, you can communicate with your employees immediately – without panicking about outdated employee data.
  4. A simple and clear way for employees to contact you immediately to report a criminal concern, safety hazard, or other emergency.
  5. An immediate and multi-channel approach to communicating with your employees: make sure you call, text, and email them with a simple one-click process!
  6. Easily accessible and clearly communicated procedures for any situations requiring an evacuation or shelter-in-place response.
  7. Well-written, clear, and empathetic templates to use when communicating foreseeable information to employees (g., templates for inclement weather concerns). Templates allow you to communicate quickly without scrambling to draft something on the spot!
  8. Clear feedback loops throughout the duration of any crisis. You want to be able to send multiple updates to your employees if needed – and you want them to be able to communicate with you, too!
  9. A plan to follow up with employees once the crisis is handled– make sure everyone is safe, connected to any needed resources, and aware of who to talk to if they need additional assistance.
  10. Clear metrics to evaluate your crisis response team’s handling of any sudden event. After an emergency happens, it is tempting to want to just move forward, but you should evaluate yourself first. Celebrate your team’s accomplishments, and learn from mistakes by improving your procedures.

Good technology helps you implement a crisis response plan quickly and efficiently.

Here, at Pocketstop, we can’t check off everything on that list: for example, we can’t pick your company’s best spokesperson. BUT, we can make most of those steps much easier and more streamlined. Our RedFlag system has two-way messaging: this means employees can alert you of an emergency or follow-up to a message you’ve sent. It also has multi-channel capacities and the ability to pre-program message templates. Finally, it integrates with other systems, which means you can seamlessly update your employee contact information.

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