What do you do today or what provisions have you made to communicate with line staff in times of crisis?

Several years ago my wife and I spent a couple of days vacationing in England. As we were heading home, we were chatting with a gate agent at Heathrow. She told us that she was engaged to a fellow airline employee who was from the United States. 

We were curious and asked them where they were going to live. She explained that because they worked for an airline, they could pick and choose their location, and had settled on Phoenix, AZ. The reason they picked Phoenix was not because they had some family ties, loved golf, or spring training, but because, after a great deal of research, they had decided it was the safest place in the civilized world to live. They had determined there was no risk of flooding, earthquakes, tornados or hurricanes. (I decided not to ask about droughts or venomous animals!)

Senior Living and Disasters

There is not a place in the country where you can own and operate a senior living community and be assured you will never face an emergency – one that disrupts the lives of residents and team members. I will never forget trying to get to my home in Southern California after the riots following the Rodney King verdict broke out. 

My flight into Los Angeles was rerouted to Las Vegas where I managed to get the last seat on the one plane that was released to Los Angeles. As near as I can tell, the only reason this plane was allowed into LAX was because also on the plane was the Reverend Jessie Jackson, who was trying to get to LA to calm the situation.

It could happen anyplace! The question is how do you prepare? How do you make sure you can communicate quickly and fully to all team members?

Talking to Everyone

I was recently talking to Judy Finn who is with iTacit, a Senior Housing Forum partner, about how senior living facilities communicate with their staff. Judy made the point that typically in senior living communities, only the leadership team down through department heads have company email addresses. That got me wondering how senior living communities get immediate and necessary information to line staff? Does this mean, in times of urgency (crisis, natural disaster, power outage, or maybe just LOTS of snow shutting down roads), someone has to sit down and dial each one to ask for help or just communicate what is going on?

One of the features of iTacit’s cloud-based software is a Facebook-like platform that team members log into from their home computer, tablet or smartphone. It’s a proven way for all staff to stay connected and engaged in their workplace – even when they’re not onsite. Senior care facilities use iTacit’s Communication & Collaboration module to communicate policies and procedures, share staff news and updates, solicit staff feedback to a new idea, and much more. And staff can access that information at a time and place most convenient to them.

Judy noted that in a time of crisis, iTacit could easily and seemlessly become the hub for quickly disseminating information to everyone and making specific requests for just the help that is needed. Judy pointed out that iTacit can help create calm in a stressful situation by making everyone feel informed by and connected to leadership. It helps create a sense of community, of being part of the team even for those who are away from work.  And – it frees up management staff to do the things that are most critical to caring for residents.

What do you do today or what provisions have you made to communicate with line staff in times of crisis?

Steve Moran