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Ask 5 Questions to Establish or Revise Your Pandemic Plan

Back in June 2009, we experienced the pandemic of the H1N1 swine flu. Organizations worked to prevent an outbreak through minimal person-to-person contact, revised paid sick leave plans and work from home arrangements, if available. Now, fast forward ten years, we are experiencing the pandemic of COVID-19, the coronavirus, with the same solutions. Is your organization dusting off their H1N1 pandemic plan or starting from scratch to create a pandemic plan for the first time?

The global consultancy firm, Mercer, recently conducted the COVID-19 Outbreak survey representing over 300 companies from 37 countries. The survey found that 24 percent of companies are currently in the middle of drafting an initial business continuity plan and 27 percent of companies are not developing one. We can assume this means that the remaining 49 percent have a plan to ensure that customers are served, employees are paid and businesses are open. That's good news!

No matter what the current state of your pandemic plan is, organizations that care for their employees and their community must find time to draft or update their pandemic plan. It is can feel overwhelming and scary, especially when you are in a reactive epidemic mindset.

Don't be paralyzed. You can keep the pandemic plan conversations simple by asking these five strategic questions:

  1. What is the mission of your pandemic plan?

  2. What are the goals and deliverable outcomes of the pandemic plan?

  3. What systems, tools and resources do you need to implement, continue or stop to achieve your pandemic plan's mission and vision?

  4. What is your communication plan to your customers, your vendors and your employees?

  5. What is your crisis plan in the event that an employee receives a positive diagnosis?

Questions one and two align with your core values and workplace civility. Questions three, four and five align with your most valuable asset, your employees. The alignment of your pandemic plan demonstrates your commitment as an organization to drive your desired culture.

No matter if you are starting your first draft of the pandemic plan or revising your existing pandemic plan, take time to build and communicate your pandemic plan. And, don't forget to wash your hands!

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