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Many organisations have plans for risk management and for those who had already planned for the pandemic flu, they may be better placed now in terms of dealing with everything that Covid19 is throwing at us.

The media have already latched on to the fact that pandemic flu had been exercised in the UK at all levels of government quite some years ago and guess what, the lessons learned have been placed on a shelf, metaphorically speaking of course, and now having been dusted off, there is very little evidence around that any embedded or planned mitigation measures were ever put in place.  The lack of PPE for all who need it is but one simple example.

Irrespective of what planning had or had not been put in place, when carrying out tabletop exercises at the strategic level, many would have consisted of something we know as ‘consequence’ management. This is the area where many organisations don’t have the time or the inclination to focus on. Why? We are all too busy dealing with the immediate crisis and hoping that once we’ve left the scene, others will take over and get us back to where we used to be.

In my view however, we should really be focusing on the consequences of any crisis in that we should be thinking ahead in parallel with any ‘firefighting’ that we may be undertaking. Whether it’s the short, medium or long term, we need to be mindful of the fact that we are going to be dealing with a ‘new normality’.  This new state is something that some companies today were already be thinking about a good few years ago.

How then should we manage the consequences and who needs to be involved? I believe everyone should be involved and the secret here is to engage with all of our stakeholders, including those who are external to our organisation. Those working at ‘C Suite’ level won’t have all the answers, but to get these, there has to be an interactive communications strategy which will allow everyone to have their say and be listened to.

The UK Government has advised businesses to conduct thorough risk assessments within the work-based environment before any staff return to the workplace. Using a construction company as an example, they’re making gangways one-way, staircases one-way and changing the layout of their factories to comply with social distancing rules. This has also resulted in changing the layout of all workspaces and storage areas.

One of the key problems was that of breakout rooms and canteen facilities. The solutions aren’t difficult but human nature is that we don’t like change. For instance, the introduction of staggered breaks and lunch hours will ensure that employees won’t need to congregate all at once and this will allow a business to continue as normal, albeit, perhaps over a longer working day in terms of operating hours.

Flexibility and agility will be the key to success and none of us should be thinking that BAU will return in the way that we were used to in the past. Those organisations who have demonstrated an ability to bounce back quickly will be the winners.

There is a plus side to every crisis and for Covid19, consequence management has resulted in remote working for many.  This means less commuting, which can make work more accessible for people with disabilities; the flexibility can be particularly helpful for single parents and those classed as carers.

Working from home isn’t necessarily the perfect outcome for many but it also provides ample opportunity for staff members to review Personal Development Portfolios and take the opportunity to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills through ongoing remote training provision.

Rob Hoblin MBA MA

Owner at Carmdale Ltd

#risk #leadership #consequencemanagement #training #development



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