Ukraine and Russia: HR must play a key role in risk management

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HR has a key role to play in releasing and supporting employees facing risk in Ukraine and Russia as Putin’s invasion continues.

Employees of multinational companies who remain in Russia have been told by global health and safety consultancy International SOS that they are at considerable risk.

Mick Sharp, chief operating officer of corporate security services, told Personnel Today that these individuals should be prepared for restricted access to banking systems and cash, restrictions on movement and shortages of items. imported.

He said: “Organizations and business leaders, including HR, should constantly review risk assessments of individuals in Russia and provide advice on legal restrictions and interruptions of diplomatic support to foreign nationals.”

International SOS sent an evacuation notice to its customers in Ukraine itself on February 12, 12 days before the outbreak of the conflict. For several months prior, the company had sent out reports outlining the growing tensions and the implications for organizations operating in the country.

In January, the health and safety services company deployed an incident management team to Ukraine to bolster its operational planning with key vendors in preparation for a conflict. This is still at work in the country supporting internal relocation and evacuation of clients.

Sharp said it was notable that the technology, medical, telecommunications, professional services and manufacturing sectors had been particularly hard hit by the crisis, and it was here that International SOS had been particularly supported.

He added that accurate information was crucial to the success of company operations. “In terms of the challenges facing organizations and individuals in the region, several really stand out,” he said. “Access to apolitical and verifiable information is vital, given the various competing sources of information surrounding the crisis. Without this information, it can be difficult for business leaders to make appropriate decisions in a timely manner.

“Of course, the physical risks that can affect individuals in areas where combat activities are taking place are also a significant challenge. Resettlement out of these areas should be a priority, but where this is not possible, individuals should be prepared to seek shelter, possibly for significant periods of time.In such cases, access to food, water, medicine and other essentials should be a priority.

He added that HR plays a critical role in creating individual risk assessments tailored to employees’ risk profiles. “It’s good news that HR managers have become more involved in crisis management teams,” he said. “Using these risk assessments, organizations can then decide what is feasible in terms of relocation or evacuation. Again, this is an area in which International SOS has supported throughout the crisis.

Mental health was another area of ​​great concern for employees, many of whom had friends and family in conflict zones, Sharp added, so the company pledged to provide teleconsultation support. for customer employees.

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