Last week, Consultant Proficiency Resources (CPR) LLC initiated a series on emergency preparedness in small businesses. The writing is on the wall. Whether it's the economy, rumors of WW3, food shortages, race riots, zombie apocalypse, and/or natural disasters, the earth is saying something, as small business owners, we also need to pay attention to the signs along with politicians, media, and spiritual leaders. To get through the series, we identified six-(6) significant categories for emergency preparedness of a small business in these apocalyptic times. The categories included (1) Personnel & Safety, (2) Finance, (3) Technology, (4) Sustenance, (5) Inventory, and (6) Practice. Today we will begin to explore personnel and safety.
Personnel and Safety
A vital part of leadership including business ownership is understanding the well-being of your employees. Establishing a workspace that prioritizes safety is important for productivity. While traditionally small businesses had challenges with safety due to minimum resources, today, we can see how cultivating a safe workspace involving your team can be a cost saver and simply the right direction during times of turbulence and uncertainty. Understanding the role of how personnel can bolster how you maintain a level of safety is good for commerce. Implementing a culture of safety signifies creating a safe workplace and workforce, it pays off in lower costs, increases productivity, and improves employee morale. Your employees are also cognizant of the turmoil that exists. Whether you know it or not, they are asking what is the plan? Are you listening? Let's begin to explore a couple of the areas relating to personnel and safety.
a. Emotional wellness
Disasters and emergencies take a toll on personnel who may not have a way to deal with turbulent issues. This was true during CoVID and it will hold for the upcoming times; times of uncertainty. As a leader, you must strike preeminently by promoting a healthy work environment. Here are some tips for small businesses:
practice opening and closing your meeting with prayer
ensure there is a level of confidentiality amongst your employees
establish a buddy system (for on and off work), allowing your team to stay connected
if you have small business insurance, schedule a weekly or monthly (based on your insurance) virtual meeting with a licensed social worker or therapists
activate a wellness hour in addition to lunch. The wellness hours should include healthy snacks with open discussion (work or non-work related), this includes breaking news and the safety of families
while time is available participate in a war room exercise, or devise one internally. This is team exercise builds trust and enhances the connection
encourage a discussion on emergency preparedness by using what-if scenarios
b. assess your employees' physical and mental health strengths and weaknesses, and incorporate the skills sets within your emergency readiness plan
c. assess your employees' additional skill sets such as who is CPR certified, bikers, runners, etc. Having first-hand information can assist during an emergency.
d. Devise a small business emergency readiness plan (take the categories and tips from this series and customize them for your business). You may also contact CPR LLC for consultation on emergency preparedness.
If an emergency were to occur during business hours, you as the leader must be prepared to handle the situation. You can begin by collecting your employees' family contact information. You may place it on an e-file and maintain a hard copy. Let's return to the days of maintaining a phone book. Flag any family members that are in the military, police force, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, gardeners, etc. Keep and store in a safe place.
4. Have a bi-weekly meeting about emergency preparedness, since information and status change frequently
5. If you own a brick and mortar, be sure to invest in:
a security system including cameras
a backup generator
maintain a Chester freezer on the premises
maintain a barrel of rainwater if needed
keep in touch with your local precinct
6. If you have space on your business property, turn a portion of it into a garden and take turns maintaining your work garden.
7. every employee should store a bugout bag on the premises including extra clothing
8. Network with other small brick-and-mortar businesses
9. Start an emergency preparedness group within your business zip code
10. Share this page with other business owners.
While some may be cognizant of what is going on in the world and its possible impact, many are not aware of the effect it will have on their businesses. If you plan accordingly, much like any other method of preparation, you are likely to minimize any incidents or damages. Do you have any tips relating to personnel and safety as a small business owner during an emergency? Please leave in the comment section. During these precarious times, we can no longer afford to bury our heads. Look straight ahead and plan accordingly. That's effective leadership.