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Home » Newsletters » Employer Solutions / HRMS Newsletter – May 2018 » Human Resource Planning: Do You Have A Disaster Recovery Plan?

Employer Solutions / HRMS Newsletter – May 2018

Keeping you up-to-date with information about employer solutions / hrms.

Posted on May 4, 2018 by Net at Work Team Tagged in:

disaster recovery plan for hr

Hurricane Sandy was the largest and second most costly Atlantic hurricane on record, causing damage that will likely top $20 billion. In the United States, Hurricane Sandy affected at least 24 states, with particularly severe damage in New Jersey and New York. When its storm surge hit New York City, streets, tunnels and subway lines were flooded, and power went down in and around the city. In addition to the personal hardships that hurricane victims faced, countless small businesses were displaced or disrupted. If there is any silver lining to this horrific event, it’s that Sandy has given us a clear reminder that as business owners, we need to have a disaster recovery plan in place.

Disasters need not be of the hurricane variety to cause significant business disruption. Essentially, any incident that interrupts the normal course of business, such as an office fire, a broken water pipe, or a major snowstorm, qualifies.

In the past few months, three Net at Work customers have faced extreme disasters that caused their entire systems to be down.

In one case, a customer’s sprinklers went off in their server room over the weekend, flooding the server room and destroying all equipment. When they found out, they contacted us for assistance and within a few hours we had them back up and running.

In the second scenario, a customer had a fire in their entire facility, destroying everything except for a PC with a backup. We were able to work with them over the weekend to get their HRMS system back up and running.

Finally, we recently had a customer identify ransomware on their servers which caused a complete disruption of all their IT services . We were able to assist with recovery of a backup.

In all three cases outlined above, an ideal disaster recovery solution was not already in place for the customers, making recovery more difficult.

Every business, large and small, should have a disaster recovery plan, also known as a business continuity plan, which involves input from management, supervisors and employees, as appropriate. The plan should include mobilization procedures, notification guidelines, call trees and other pertinent information for the business as well as plans for crisis management. The goal is to take measures so that your business won’t suffer significant financial loss or total business failure in the event of an emergency.

Planning ahead in this way has numerous benefits including:


A disaster recovery plan does not need to be complicated or expensive. The plan should focus on all the business functions that are vulnerable to disaster and those that will have the highest impact on losses should disaster actually strike. Once you’ve identified the mission-critical business functions, you should prioritize recovery strategies for each function. At a minimum, you should:

It is important to test the plan periodically (at least every six months) to be sure that it remains feasible and that it is updated to include any changes to your business. With advanced planning, you can mitigate business interruptions and financial loss in the event of an emergency.

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New and Updated

Florida waives certain unemployment requirements after hurricane.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance is now temporarily available to affected Florida businesses and residents who are not eligible for regular state or federal reemployment assistance benefits.

Extreme Weather Events

An employer should prepare its employees and workplace for extreme weather events. XpertHR rounds up resources to help an employer for such an event.

Business Continuity Policy

An employer may use this policy to reduce risk, protect stakeholder's interest and ensure continuation of services in the midst of a catastrophic event or natural disaster.

Keep a Business Running After an Emergency

How to keep a business running after an emergency.

This How To details the steps an employer should take to keep a business running after an emergency.

About This Topic

HR guidance on recovery planning in the event of natural and manmade disasters.

Disaster Recovery: Key Items

Natural disasters, paying employees during workplace closures, emergency procedure policy, how to create an emergency action plan.

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Disaster Planning:HR's Role


Based on the number of unforeseen disasters since the turn of the century, including terror attacks in New York and Boston, hurricanes like Harvey, Irma and Maria, and major industrial accidents in Louisiana, Texas and the Gulf of Mexico, it is clear that businesses must be ready for the worst. The best way to prepare is with a business contingency plan.

Contingency planning is useful for managing the risk of workplace violence, cyber crimes, natural disasters, computer viruses, fires, product tampering and union strikes. HR plays a pivotal role in the planning and execution of events, policies and protocols for an organization, especially in the event of a major disaster.

 A contingency plan for a disaster includes streamlining safety initiatives, communicating with employees and headlining crisis management efforts. Beyond this, organizations have a duty to protect their workers’ safety while on the job. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) requires that companies provide an environment free from hazards that can cause death or physical harm. HR’s role is to ensure that the organization could overcome the challenges of a crisis and prevail.

  HR’s Duties and Roles

HR aims to orchestrate a successful crisis management strategy, including emergency responses, disaster recovery, risk management, communications and business continuity. If HR prepares for the worst-case scenario, all situations should be manageable. The following are duties that HR can perform to better prepare for disasters·   

Engage in scenario planning by developing defenses against potential hazards, and implement a crisis management team.

During a crisis, HR serves to preserve the credibility and trust in the company among management staff, employees, customers, suppliers, partners, investors, the media, the government and the community at large. Depending on the specific situation, HR will assist the organization in returning to its normal productivity, while also ensuring that the reputation of the organization is preserved.

Gather information about the organization’s risks through the identification of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and potential threats. Consider these questions when gathering information:

How will this event affect people?

What is the likelihood of this event occurring?

Can the actions of corporate management stop or lessen the crisis in any way?

Does the organization have the resources to act in a crisis?

Is the will to act present within the organization?

How would the organization be impacted if HR did not act?

Develop a contingency recovery plan with the crisis management team. This is a document outlining the organization’s chain of command and worst-case scenarios. The crisis management team should reconvene every six months to keep this plan updated.

Once a plan has been created, simulate a crisis to test its effectiveness and reveal potential weaknesses.

Establish relationships with assistance providers, such as the local fire and police departments, utility companies, community assistance organizations and government agencies. In addition to providing aid during the actual event, these organizations may provide assistance in crisis management planning.

Develop recovery plans addressing the safety, welfare and health of all employees before, during and after a disaster.

Analyze current plans after disasters or emergencies to reveal possible emergency prevention opportunities.

Anchor heavy office equipment.

To the best extent possible, replace combustible or flood-prone systems and equipment with fireproof and flood-resistant materials.

Consider installing a generator for emergency power.

Link the need for crisis management with the organization’s mission and core values. HR can also connect business contingency to the organization’s bottom line and overall success.

Identify post-emergency assistance.

Communicate regularly about what the company is doing for its employees and the community after a disaster.

Encourage employees to use the company’s employee assistance program (EAP) or provide access to an EAP, if not already available. EAPs can help with mental health or stress counseling, which are important considerations, especially following a disaster.

Ensure that employees know when they are expected to return to work and to what degree.

Distribute crisis response materials to employees, like information about floodwater health risks and instructions for disinfecting potentially contaminated items.

Develop evacuation plans for employees, visitors, customers, subcontractors and vendors who work or operate on-site.

Provide assistance directly to employees by highlighting the company’s emergency action plan, moving employees to alternate locations and matching employee donations for relief efforts.

Be flexible with employee scheduling immediately following a disaster. Depending on its severity, entire homes could be lost and families may be uprooted.

Partner with safety and security professionals to train employees on surviving emergencies.

Ensure the safety of employees who work internationally. This includes being aware of the potential dangers that may affect employees overseas, knowing where employees are located, keeping the lines of communication open between the company and the employees, and having an evacuation plan in place for those employees in case of danger.

Provide orientations for employees who are traveling overseas for business and highlight the dangers that they may encounter.

Contact organizations that provide assistance internationally for medical emergencies, such as the International SOS or Worldwide Assistance.

Contact the U.S. Department of State prior to the employee’s departure to inform it of who will be traveling overseas to potentially dangerous areas.

HR professionals play an integral role in the survival of an organization in the event of a disaster. They can provide invaluable sustainability tools, successfully protect employees and help ensure that business continuity occurs in a timely fashion.

For more information on business continuity planning, contact Amanda Hicks at Polley Insurance and Risk Management today.

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Does your hr management process include a disaster recovery plan.

Accuchex Payroll Solutions

Disasters can happen anytime and anywhere. Whether it's an earthquake in California, a tornado in Oklahoma, or a hurricane in Florida, businesses must be prepared to recover quickly and provide for their employees.


In 2017 we have seen the vast destruction of Hurricane Harvey, and the lingering impact over a month later, including 75 deaths and e conomic losses estimated at between $70   to $200 billion. Then came Irma, vast wildfires in numerous western states, and many lesser disasters.

Whenever businesses are impacted by these and other disasters the prospect of missed payrolls and employees being deprived of much needed finances looms large. And the disasters do not have to be natural to be devastating.

According to an article from FSV Payment Systems ,

And it’s not only natural disasters like floods, storms, and fires. After the 9/11 disaster, FedEx couldn’t fly for days. According to a recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health, only one-third of businesses felt they could sustain operations without severe operational problems if half their workforce were out for two weeks with H1N1 (also known as “swine flu”).

The bottom line is that most any business is subject to the effects of a disaster that may occur and a contingency plan is essential.

HR Management Must Include a Disaster Recovery Plan

Human resource departments should have a few contingency plans in place to ensure that critical functions can be quickly restored or replaced when needed. Unexpected events can cause critical disruption to business and it is always better to be prepared for something that hopefully won't happen.

An analogy of sorts is the family car that has a gas can, tire jack and spare tire in the trunk. They may never be used, hopefully, but the peace of mind that comes from knowing they there, if needed, is priceless.

And a "disaster" need not be cataclysmic to cause major disruption for a business. Something as simple as a broken water pipe,  an office fire, or even a major snowstorm can cripple or even shut down  a business .

According to HR Knowledge ,

Every business, large and small, should have a disaster recovery plan, also known as a business continuity plan, which involves input from management, supervisors and employees, as appropriate. The plan should include mobilization procedures, notification guidelines, call trees and other pertinent information for the business as well as plans for crisis management.

The purpose, of course, is to ensure that your business won’t suffer crippling financial loss or total business collapse because of an emergency. This advance  planning and preparation will pay out in huge dividends in the event of an actual disaster.

Critical operational decisions can be made quickly and efficiently in the midst of a crisis situation. Having functioning d ata and back-up systems means your business will continue to operate. And sensitive or confidential information, as well as business and employee documents will  be available, even if the originals are destroyed.


The HR Management Disaster Recovery Plan Process

There are a number of essential steps that should be implemented, but every business is different and the needs will vary from one organization to another. For example, a hospital will have somewhat different needs to plan for than a retail store.

But there are some basic elements that every business should look to include in their planning process:

You should have up-to-date alternate means of contact for all of your staff and important clients or vendors. This should be a list of 24-hour emergency numbers for all your employees. In addition, you should develop an alternative means for being available to employees should they need to contact you.

Make sure you regularly back up any important data, such as accounting and employee information, as well as customer and inventory lists. These need to be backed up consistently in off-site storage, or in the cloud . 

Ensure that all of your company's insurance policies are current and that your business is adequately covered for property insurance. Payroll insurance is a good idea. Another recommended coverage to consider is called business-interruption insurance. This insurance covers lost income in the event the business is forced to shut down temporarily.

If possible, have a plan for continuing your business operations even if you lose your place of business, or it becomes unusable. If you and your staff can work remotely and stay in communications, that may be a viable and temporary solution. Otherwise, you will need to secure a temporary location where you can set up shop, if needed.

Simply drafting a set of plans is not enough. You must periodically test your plans in order to be sure that they are still feasible. Your recovery and contingency plans should also be updated any time there are substantial changes to your business.

The objective is to mitigate business interruptions and financial loss in the event of an emergency with advance planning and preparation.

Finding Professional Help for Your HR Management

Considering alternatives such as outsourcing is increasingly becoming a cost-effective and strategic option. Accuchex can help you in managing your HR needs, payroll processes, and staying on top of compliance demands.

At some point in the growth of your company it makes sense to consider other options for   maintaining and managing   the vast number of tasks and functions that fall under the HR department. While newer software and automation are certainly viable and beneficial options, it can often be far more cost-effective to outsource.

If you are considering outsourcing some or all of your payroll processes, give us a call. Let Accuchex help you in managing your HR needs, payroll processes, and staying on top of compliance demands. Feel free to reach out to us at   877-422-2824 .

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Topics: HR best practices , payroll process , HR management practices , contingency planning , disaster recovery plan

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