The Storm Has Passed… Now What?

Despite the awful tragedy caused by Hurricane Ida, we know that our region is strong and will recover. The storm has passed but many of us are left thinking “now what?” We wanted to offer some practical advice for your human resources procedures as you grapple with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Recovery After A Disaster

Recovering after a natural disaster, such as Hurricane Ida, can seem daunting, especially for small businesses having to address the fallout on both professional and personal fronts. Sometimes human resource issues are not at the forefront of most people’s’ minds. However, employers need to be careful not to overlook important employment considerations when trying to get their businesses back on track after a significant event.

Save Time With Message Templates

Even though Hurricane Ida has retreated, the real challenge begins in the recovery process. Your first priority is your staff. After making contact with each person and assessing their personal safety, your next goal is to resume operations as quickly as possible. To do this effectively, we suggest implementing Message Templates into your critical communications system. Some examples might include:

  • Due to Hurricane Ida, our office/business is closed. Contact [MANAGER] for information about how this impacts your position such as payroll, working remotely, and when to return to the office.

  • If you are unable to travel to the office or throughout the region, please contact [MANAGER] to discuss alternative working arrangements.

  • If you require assistance with maintenance, repairs, or tech damage in your office, please reach [MAINTENANCE DEPARTMENT] to schedule repairs.

  • If you need assistance with your personal belongings or home, please contact [MANAGER] to get more information on FEMA services or contact our Employee Assistance Provider (EAP).

Your mission at this point is to provide services to resume productivity while operating under your Emergency Response Plan or Inclement Weather Policy. However, you must remain empathetic to the needs of your employees who may have suffered serious losses both professionally and personally. Fortunately, you can do both with the use of message alerts and proper planning for the remainder of hurricane season.

Now Is The Time To Work On Your Emergency Response Plan

We’ve heard from many employers recently that did not have an Emergency Response Plan or an Inclement Weather Policy prior to Hurricane Ida. It is not too late to create an interim policy based on what you are going through now, or to revise your existing policies for matters that didn’t work as they should. Consider the lessons learned and how you can improve your employee communications and emergency responses. In addition, consideration of how a business closure will affect payroll is important; Will you pay for time away from work during and after the storm or enforce the use of paid time off? This may be weighing heavily on the minds of your staff while they begin to regroup and recover.

While our own HR NOLA team has been greatly impacted by this storm, we implemented our Emergency Response Plan and are safe, with most of us ready to support businesses remotely in whatever capacity is needed. On behalf of the businesses we support, we’ve been busy conducting employee outreach, drafting policies and communications for inclement weather, remote work assignments, and planning for potential reorganizations. It is important to consider how you will handle wage and hour issues, attendance, safety, and business closures. Your employees may not be able to return to work immediately after your business is ready to reopen, so having a plan in place for those contingencies is important to your legal requirements and the retention of your staff.

Does your business need help recovering after hurricane Ida? Get in touch to find out how we can help!

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