That is a question that most companies are asking – what is everyone else doing? On May 19 the Conference Board released a study of their membership that helped to answer that question.
The survey of 121 members of 44 Councils of The Conference Board was taken during the week of May 4. Councils are small, intimate, cross-industry networking peer groups that bring together executives in a specific function to share information and best practices. Of those surveyed, more than half (55 percent) have a pandemic response plan and have activated it in response to the current A(H1N1) outbreak.
In addition, the majority (66 percent) of companies are responding at a global, enterprise level, rather than locally. Thirty-one percent of survey participants are responding at a national level, only in affected countries where their company is currently operating.
“Our research from The Conference Board Councils shows that while there are some differences in corporate responses to the danger of an influenza pandemic, most companies are in agreement that they should be prepared for the worst and ready for a major threat to their global operations,” says Carolyn Cavicchio,
Senior Research Associate, Global Corporate Citizenship, at The Conference Board. Although most companies are having discussions with all levels of government, one-third of those surveyed have not engaged with government at all.
Employee Communications is Critical
Almost all companies are taking special steps to communicate more frequently and in more detail about a possible flu pandemic with employees, and 87 percent are using new media (such as websites and blogs) to accomplish this. Eighty-one percent of those surveyed have actively encouraged employees who do not feel well to stay home so they don’t infect co-workers. Most companies have policies like this that can be helpful in managing through the current outbreak. An overwhelming 93 percent of survey participants will allow employees to work off-site (from home or a satellite facility) during a pandemic health emergency. Half of respondents report that their companies are restricting business travel, particularly to Mexico. However, half of respondents have not put restrictions into their travel policies.