Human Resource Contribution to Crisis Management



Crisis can hit anytime, and to identify and prevent them can be the biggest challenge faced by many organizations. Managing the crisis events in an effective manner will help the businesses in moving ahead. Most of the times, the focus is mainly on the systems, infrastructure, operations and public relations. What about HR?

Not having an adequate HR crisis plan can have a negative impact on the workforce, resulting in some (or all) of the following outcomes:

  • Key staff will leave and they will take the knowledge along with them.
  • High employee turnover and absenteeism
  • Low morale and motivation.
  • Increasing costs of health benefits..
  • Expensive litigations, rising of legal concerns.
  • And, it can also lead to negative publicity, and damaged reputation for the business.


HR has to make sure that the human capital of the organization is preserved, so that they can add value under any kind of situation and circumstances. The current crisis can pose real kind of challenges for all the departments and business units. HR executives, being the experts on the people issues, have to keep thinking strategically about the demand and supply of work force. They strive to develop frontline leaders, and restructure the organization.

With proper motivation and engagement activities, the employees are encouraged to contribute more, even during the turbulent and challenging times.

How Can HR executives contribute?


  • Strategic planning of workforce: HR can anticipate all the future human capital supply shortages, so that the competencies can be redeployed as needed.
  • Controlling the productivity: The productivity control needs to change from the input level to the output level. So, instead of using HC, personnel costs and such, HR should be focusing on value added per employee KPIs.
  • Creating Work force flexibility: By providing different options, such as sabbatical programs, flexi-hours and paid leave, some reversible scenarios can be created.
  • Reduction of workforce: The business should think carefully about cutting down the workforce in the right places. Here comes the strategic HR with its deep business knowledge right on place.Layoff should be based on people´s performance instead of costs.
  • Management of personnel costs: by creating innovative models for compensation, the personnel costs can be easily managed.
  • Focus on recruiting the key people: This is the best time for an upgrade on the talents of the existing staff, focus should be on recruiting and retaining key people.
  • Employee Engagement: The employees should be motivated and made accountable. They should be given opportunities for growth and development.
  • Leadership qualities: Focus should be on the frontline managers, as they are the key people, who can give a push to the business. They should have all the leadership skills, so that they can lead even during tough times. They should have a good sense about engagement and motivation, so that they can be able to detect the trouble spots, even before they crop up.
  • External and internal communication: The message should be conveyed to the employees by the management. This will help in improving the confidence of the personnel.


Both, HR and the business should be prepared for the unexpected, and take appropriate measures for safeguarding their interests. Once HR is prepared to handle the crisis situations, they can make sure that all the potential risks are taken care of. They can make use of crisis for resource planning, communication plans, succession planning, etc. In this way, the HR professionals will be able to influence the capabilities and culture of the organization, and provide effective leadership, in times of crisis.