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As the warm wet Christmas weather gives way to snow across large swathes of the country it is time for businesses to close the section of their continuity plans which deals with floods and open the chapter on ice and snow. Snow may be a boon for the media, enabling them to fill pages with pictures of children sledging, but it also challenges businesses to keep supplying customers in the face of hazardous travel conditions.
In the face of worries about supplies and sales orders being fulfilled it is all too easy to forget about the human aspect of bad weather. And yet, it is at times such as these that businesses have a chance to considerably boost their employee engagement levels.
A few years ago a colleague undertook a straw poll of the actions taken by haulage firms in the face of severe snow. Some cancelled all deliveries; others sent out vans and lorries without any extra precautions and hoped they would get through. But one firm reported that they sent out drivers with blankets and flasks of warm drink in case they became stranded and told them to turn back if they became at all concerned about conditions. In doing this they showed the drivers how much they cared and this boosted engagement levels.
It doesn’t take much to make a difference to engagement when bad weather strikes. Allowing flexible working or working from home; arranging transport to avoid the need for employees to walk on icy roads in the dark; providing hot food or drinks for those who make it in to work against the odds. All these simple gestures can help to give employees the sense of belonging which ties them to the organisation even when the snows melt.