How To Train Staff To Avert Disaster
What was the last disaster to hit a business like yours? Hopefully, you avoided the impact. If you were one of the lucky ones, did you breathe a sigh of relief? Is your business disaster-proof?
The reality is that you can’t predict when disaster will strike. You can’t even be sufficiently sure about what kind of a disaster it will be. The only part of the whole nightmare that you do have control over is what you do to prepare for it ahead of time.
Whether we work with other people within the confines of a bricks and mortar structure or virtually in the cloud, relationships matter. We know who our colleagues are, and we feel comfortable in those relationships. The best work is done when we like the people we have around us.
Think of a work situation where you didn’t feel comfortable. Much of your creative energy probably went into figuring out how to stay safe in that environment instead of into your job. If that describes your current business environment, try this: imagine a situation where you need your staff to deal with a disaster. Maybe you’ve experienced a serious data breach and angry clients are beating a path to your door. This is when you need your staff to drop everything and rely on their training.
But, what if they can’t remain calm because they don’t feel they work in a safe and supportive environment? Suddenly, your staff is quitting, calling in sick, or just not giving their job much effort.
Before you blame them, ask yourself what kind of support you’ve been offering them. It’s up to managers and business owners to foster a positive atmosphere. If you do, your staff will be there for you when you need them most.
the upside of happiness
The idea of a happy work environment is a great talking point, but how do you actually go about creating one in real life? Well, it’s probably a lot easier than you might think.
Take a breath. You’re busy, but don’t get so caught up in your daily to-do list that you forget to look up and around you. Your IQ is key to doing your job well. But, EQ – IQ’s emotion equivalent – may be even more important. Take some time every day to connect with your staff on a human level. Ask about their families. Tell them about yours. Most importantly, laugh. Humor puts people at ease, and your staff will begin to see that you’re as human as they are.
Show your staff you really do appreciate them. Give a high-5 or tell them that you really liked some particular thing they did well. The basic premise here is the understanding that your staff is not just some line on a financial ledger. These people are a huge asset to your business.
the strategy toolbox
These strategies are real, proven methods for helping your staff move your business through the worst crisis.
• Slow and steady. Provide short and ongoing training sessions long before disaster strikes. Your staff will need to internalize disaster response techniques so that their reactions are automatic. Keep a sign-in book at these sessions so you can track which employees are attending consistently and which aren’t.
• De-escalation. During a crisis, your staff will field more customer complaints and questions than ever before. Give them a script to learn. Remind them that some customers will become more difficult to handle than others, and give them a script and a set of actions to help them cope with those situations.
Although you’re understandably more concerned with bringing your business back to normalcy, your staff’s well-being should be among your first thoughts. Dealing with angry customers is really tough. Give staff all the support and encouragement they need, and they’ll pay it back by working hard for you.
• Share access. Make sure that your employees know how to access any cloud services you’re using. They’ll need that information to keep your business running, even if they’re not able to be at the office.
• Back it up. I know, I’ve already said it a million times … well, here’s one more. Set up a schedule to perform back-ups. Once per week (or whatever schedule makes sense for you) hook up each computer to an external drive and back up all the work that’s been done since the last back-up. When you lose all your data, this bit of effort is what will save your sanity.
• Test, test, test. Test your office systems to find out how long computers will run just on battery power. During drills, note problems, questions, and any confusion that arises. you’ll want to work to clarify those issues in the training sessions.
Let us know how your own disaster planning is going. What problems are top of mind for you?