Meet Claire, our CHRO of Medovin, a fictious, fast-growing medical technology company based out of Vienna. Claire’s main concern is an effective and engaged workforce.

Medovin is rapidly-expanding to explore new opportunities all over the globe. With a world that has become more complex and volatile, this also means exposure to challenges that Medovin might have not been exposed to previously, or at least not to that extent. A natural disaster in North America, a sudden pandemic outbreak in Africa, political instabilities in Latin America, security issues across many of the new emerging markets, a missing traveler somewhere on a business trip in Eastern Europe, an expat that has passed away on his assignment in Asia, etc. The list goes on…


Issues have mostly a human side to it

All these issues have the potential to significantly impact Medovin, if not handled well. More importantly for Claire, all these issues have a human side to it, her employees are at the center of all of them. Either they might be impacted by the issue or they will be part of the management of the challenge.

But with everything else on Claire’s and her organization’s plate, there is no time to worry about “hypothetical scenarios”, at least not for now. “This isn’t going to happen to us… I am sure someone else in our leadership team is already thinking about it…” are some of Claire’s thoughts. Sounds familiar?

We will get judged on how well we respond

The definition of a what is considered a “crisis” will vary from organization to organization. Let’s just call them “big issues that can significantly impact Medovin” for now.

In my career, I had the opportunity to support many different organizations in the preparation for, as well as the management of, said “big issues” either as consultant or part of the crisis management team myself. One common theme throughout all those events that became apparent to me was that…

…we will rarely get judged if something “bad” happens to our organizations, but we will get judged on how well we respond to issues.

Let’s leave cases of deliberate wrongdoing and negligence aside, of course.

Every crisis is also an opportunity

We all know that crisis management is all about anticipation and preparation to allow us to deal with “big issues” when they arise. Further we know that crisis management is a team effort and, depending of the nature of the event, will require involvement of various leadership functions, including Senior Management, ELR/HR, Communications, Security, Communications etc. All functions need to understand their roles and responsibilities prior, during and after a crisis which means preparation of a few basics and training.

We also appreciate that crisis management is about mitigating the impact and getting back to business as usual as quickly as possible.

What gets often forgotten though, every crisis is also an opportunity to come out much stronger at the other end. To become more resilient. And for Claire, to drive employee engagement.

If we can showcase that we are well prepared, that we know what to do, show kindness in dealing with the challenge and go beyond the expected duty of care in our response, our employees and their families will more than just appreciate it. “It’s great to work for such a professional organization that actually cares that much.” People will remember it…


Beim HR Inside Summit von 09.-10. Oktober gibt Heimo Grasser in seiner Session spannende Einblicke zum Thema When the disaster hits… HR’s critical role in effective crisis management“


About the author:

Heimo Grasser

Certified expert in Corporate Security, Crisis and Business Continuity Management with 15+years experience based out of Dubai, UAE. Since 2015 Senior Security Manager for Middle East & Africa for Medtronic (Medtech, 95k+ employees, USD 30bn global turn over). Beforehand International SOS & Control Risks (travel security consulting) and 10+ in the Austrian Military with deployments to the Balkans, Chad and Afghanistan. Managed corporate response to multiple crisis events from hijackings and missing persons in Africa, to social unrest and terrorism incidents in Turkey and evacuations out of Iraq, Libya & South Sudan.