Critical incidents affect workplaces around the world every day. They can be large in scale or small, but regardless of the size and scope, employers focused on how to handle a critical incident should first understand what such an incident is. A critical incident can be any impactful or unexpected event that disrupts daily routines. For instance, workplace violence, crime, terrorism or threats against the organization are all examples of critical incidents. The event does not have to be violent in nature, however, as employers also need to know how to handle a critical incident like employee layoffs or major organizational changes, which also can bring uncertainty and unease to a workplace.
Have a Critical Incident Plan in Place
All employers should have a critical incident plan in place, which can follow a four-step standard protocol. First is Detection, a step in which a potential problem is identified. During this step, workplace leaders should gather as much information as possible about the issue or incident, documenting all information collected. This is also the time an employer can contact an organization like Critical Incidents Employer Services, which deploys experts in critical incident management to help organizations navigate the event. Leadership from CIES experts can also be significantly valuable during the next step, Diagnosis. At this stage, the organization assesses the source of the problem and begins to consider how to remedy it. In the case of a critical incident, this is often a step that has to be completed quickly and efficiently, which is why the assistance of an expert is key.
We’re Here to Help with Recovery
Repair is the third step and the one that can spell success or failure for many organizations. This is the time for the employer to make strides toward fixing the problem that caused the incident, and can be a temporary, short-term solution or more likely involve gradual processes. The final phase is Recovery, a two-step effort that must include closure—the resolution of the problem that led to the initial critical incident—and prevention, or efforts to stop the incident from recurring.
While unexpected events will continue to affect workplaces, with this guide on how to handle a critical incident, and with the expert services from consultants like CIES, employers can be as prepared as possible to weather change and keep their workforces safe and productive.