Business Lessons from the Hillsborough Inquest

Business Lessons from the Hillsborough Inquest
The Hillsborough Saga is one that has fascinated me since it started - not because I am originally from Liverpool or that I can tell you exactly where I was when the tragedy was unfolding but because of my profession & the ethics that accompany it.

The strong feeling of disbelief has been with me from the moment I caught a glimpse of what I thought was a dramatic drama on a TV in the TV rental shop window (that shows how old I am now!) until the moment the inquest verdicts were delivered on 26th May 2016 - 27 years after the 1989 tragedy!

Whilst I, like many others, have strong views on what went on - as a HR Professional I would like to dwell on some of the key learning points for businesses such as:
  • The need to have a fully documented & communicated disaster scenario which covers the different catastrophes that could happen to your business, who you need to get involved & the different roles each of those parties would play.
  • A disaster recovery plan - everything you need to do to get your business back into operation after a catastrophe - including a section for lessons learnt!
  • The importance of undertaking comprehensive & independent investigations - thankfully, for most businesses these will only relate to disciplinary & grievance proceeding - however, it never ceases to amaze me how shallow many investigations are & that it is often the line manager that becomes "Judge, Jury & Executioner" - as they raise the complaint about the employee, do a little investigation & then are the decision maker at the disciplinary hearing. How fair would that feel to you?
  • Just because someone is in authority, more senior or mature does not mean that they will always tell the truth. Everyone can have a different version of the truth based on the lens that they are looking through - human being have biases that are based on numerous factors. The more detailed or in-depth your investigation is the more chance you have of getting to the real truth.
  • Create a culture where people who make a mistake are not afraid to own up to that mistake so that the situtation can be quickly sorted & everyone can learn from the situation.
  • Ensure that you have a Whistleblowing Policy so that people have a safe process to highlight any genuine concerns about how their colleagues or the business are conducting themselves

I am sure there are many other learning points; however, as I sit on a rather cold boat in the Norfolk Broads they are the ones that come to mind. 

If you have any other learning points I would love to hear from you.

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