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November 7, 2011

Earthquakes and Other Unexpected Events

This past Saturday night I experienced a natural phenomenon that was much unexpected, especially in the Midwest.  I experienced my first earthquake.  Technically, it was probably an aftershock of an earthquake, but whatever it was I felt my home shake and it was a freaky and uncomfortable encounter.  Living in Kansas, we know all about tornados.  We know what weather conditions to look for and we know where to go for safety taking our precious belongings and family members (including pets) to ride out the storm.  But I was unprepared to know what to do in the case of an earthquake.  I didn’t know whether to sit still, bracing myself for more shaking moments, or start grabbing things that might break or fall.

Many times in the world of human resources, unexpected events pop up.  Are we prepared to address and handle the harassment claim an employee brings to your attention?  Do we have policies in place regarding social media?  The very thing that makes human resources so appealing and exciting – “something new every day” – can also be quite daunting in terms of being prepared for most any situation.

As the end of the year draws near, it might be a good time to complete an HR audit.  By doing so, you may find gaps where you don’t have policies in place to address unexpected events.  Or you may find the laws have changed and items need to be updated.  There are many forms and tools available that walk you through the process, along with third-party resources that can provide an objective viewpoint.  In any case, it’s always better to address items on a proactive basis rather than reactive.  Because you never know when the next earthquake may hit.

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