Most contingency plans fall victim to analysis paralysis, that’s because we spend so much time error-proofing the plan against all possible scenarios that we failed to build in the proper flexibility needed to adapt to changes. As a crisis progresses many new information needs to be formulated to get the right equation. The following article from Risk Management’s Regina Phelps details 4 lessons learned from the H1N1 outbreak that should be revised and properly codified in your response plans:
Lessons From H1N1’s First Wave
Risk Management (11/09) Vol. 56, No. 9, P. 26; Phelps, Regina
The recent outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus has taught many corporate risk managers that having a plan in place is not sufficient. One of the biggest problems so far has been that most corporate risk officers failed to pressure-test their response strategies with either functional or table-top exercises. Second, employees will come to their corporate risk managers for assurance and answers. Expedient and efficient communication can differentiate between a considered and timely response and a distracted and hurried response. Third, H1N1 is unusual in that most of its victims are younger workers, meaning the virus has especially worrisome consequences for the business community. To minimize absenteeism, employers should categorize workers into four groups: essential to job site; essential but can work from home; nonessential but can work from home; and nonessential and not necessary to work remotely. Businesses should offer the highest level of protection to employees who are essential to the job site. Risk managers must remember that certain groups are more susceptible to the virus, including those with asthma, diabetes, chronic medical conditions, and pregnant women.
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