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Crisis readiness in focus as HRPA conference begins

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January 26, 2021
By Marcel Vander Wier

Melissa Agnes speaks about how to ensure your business is crisis ready.

What is the role of human resources when it comes to crisis readiness?

The appropriate framework consists of active listening, anticipation, providing insight to leadership and strategically getting ahead, according to Melissa Agnes, founder and CEO of the Crisis Ready Institute in New York.

“There’s a difference between reacting and responding,” she said. “The majority of professionals are in crisis management, and it’s really hard to see the horizon or to look to the horizon, because there’s so much on your plate right now.”

“Strategically getting ahead, putting this framework, these mechanisms, in place to support your ability to respond to your teams and to get ahead… will do wonders for all of this.”

HRPA’s 2021 conference is being held virtually, from Jan. 26 to 29.

Agnes issued the opening keynote address Tuesday morning for “HR Rebooted” — the 2021 conference held by the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) in Ontario.

The annual conference is being held virtually this year, from Jan. 26 to 29.

Agnes said HR professionals should constantly be on the lookout for emerging trends, changes and impacts on their people, their organization and their brand’s reputation.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have proven that, she said.

“Staying ahead of change is crucial for you guys — especially in your role,” Agnes told the conference audience. “One of the things that the majority of organizations were at a loss of (in 2020) was that foresight that they needed in order to strategically get ahead… We saw a lack of leadership.”

“The traditional approach of crisis preparedness is to have a plan that sits on a shelf,” she said. “But crisis readiness is truly cultural. It’s more than just a plan… It’s a mindset.”

Continuing this week, HRPA’s marquee event expects to address the maturity, growth and changes faced by HR in the current global environment.

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