The recent impact of storms such as Harvey, Irma, and María prompted us to take another look at how we do our work as learning and development professionals. Consider the following situation.
Lena is the talent and development leader for the implementation of a new customer service application at a bank. The training component of the plan involves four weeks of intensive classroom-based training for the system’s different modules to be delivered by Subject Matter Experts who became learning and development facilitators after undergoing an intensive train-the-trainers session. All sessions have been scheduled weeks in advance to minimize business interruptions. Supporting materials have been printed. A mirror image of the system was recreated so that participants can practice without fear of deleting anything. All eyes are on Lena and her team.
Lena is leading the last meeting before the training’s launch in two days to review logistics and any other issues that need to be addressed. Her assistant asks her to step out for a moment for an announcement: a hurricane warning has been issued. Hurricane and tropical storm force winds will strike the area within 36 hours. At least twelve inches of rain are expected and even more in some areas. Management decided that All employees must prepare their offices and then leave the premises for final preparations at home.
Lena remains calm and thinks about what to do when she returns to her meeting.
What would you do if you receive such a warning? Does your company or emergency team have plans for this type of situation? Are you prepared? Perhaps you were in Lena’s situation when warnings for Harvey, Irma, or María were issued for your area.
Do you ignore the warning? Do you pretend that nothing is happening and send everyone to their teams for instructions? Do you panic and tell everyone to go home and take cover?
As Talent Development leader, you have a responsibility to the business, and, at this time, most importantly, to your colleagues.
It’s time to stop and think. Priorities are different and your plans will have to change.
Before you make any decisions about the training, consider the following:
Here are some suggestions for you to handle the situation after the emergency.
We invite you to consider the issues that we presented here when you design your own contingency plans for your next project. All eyes will be on you.
Today it is a storm. Tomorrow could be something else. Prepare for the unexpected.