Business continuity

Tourism HR
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Crisis response flowchart

Crises affecting your tourism business will vary – but many steps you will need to take are consistent. The following is a good guide to the various steps and principles you may need to follow when an emergency strikes.

A six-step HR checklist to manage the COVID-19 risks for staff and businesses

The risks presented by the current pandemic for companies are not only to revenue streams, but to the health and safety of employees. Companies need to develop a response that balances resolve, transparency and a commitment to staff wellbeing. The six steps shown here are guiding principles for protecting employees, managing business risk and maintaining engagement. 

Six steps for designing a COVID-19 crisis management plan: learnings for senior staff

A PwC survey of business leaders found in 2019 that nearly 7 in 10 of them had experienced at least one corporate crisis in the last five years. The COVID-19 crisis is unique in many ways, but companies that have done the best preparation for crisis handling are also best placed to navigate the unforeseeable circumstances. In a tourism context, destinations that had to contend with SARS in 2003 may have been better prepared to deal with the COVID emergency. Many examples of best practice in crisis response apply equally to SMEs.

Put together a crisis management response team. This should include representatives with responsibility for HR, communications, security, legal, and potentially also from IT, finance and operations. If you are a small operator your crisis response team may be comprised of a group of your trusted professional advisors and other tourism operators within your community. 

Have an internal and external communications plan. Identify key stakeholder groups – employees, customers, business partners, suppliers and others – and think about what messages need to be delivered, in what form and how frequently.

Give senior staff media training. You may consider professional training. Consider holding mock press conferences, and practice interviews on video. Learn from video clips from press conferences and PR announcements to identify what works and what does not.

Review and revise your business continuity plan. This should be focused around the functions of the company. Tailor it to the unique challenges of COVID-19 – it should address issues like remote working, leave policies and privacy and security controls. 

Don’t forget about the recovery stage. How will you transition back to business-as-usual as the crisis starts to slow down? Take time to look back on how the company performed during the crisis and how ready you were for it. Do not make the same mistakes the next time. 

Keep calm and carry on. Do not get lost in the weeds – track back to your overall crisis management objectives, whether they relate to maintaining a healthy workforce or customer relations, and be willing to adjust course in real-time.

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