Are you challenged keeping team members involved in the continuing effort of developing and maintaining your company’s business continuity plan? We know their reasons: too busy, don’t understand the process, don’t see the value, and don’t perceive the project as a real company priority. Our challenge and concern: have team members seriously consider the information they are submitting to the continuity plan.
Not surprising is the fact that families and households are not planning for emergencies, disasters or terrorist attacks at home either. Everyone is busy. It is easy to gamble that nothing will happen. Every day that passes without incident reinforces that lack of action. As BC planners, we understand that a good plan is like insurance. We want to be fully covered, but hope we never have to use it.
How can we raise the awareness and motivate our employees to take continuity planning seriously? One solution is to encourage them to have a family home continuity plan.
As business recovery planners we can help. How? Apply the best practices learned over the last decade from the business continuity community to best practices for our team members and company employees to develop their own home continuity plans. Families and households have a lot of information to identify and document. Families need a structured methodology to get started and to avoid getting bogged down with unnecessary information.
Both our business and personal worlds are information dependent. Every household needs an easy, reliable way to create emergency preparedness and recovery plans to manage their own essential information to respond to an emergency or disaster, and to recover as painlessly as possible. What essential information: contact numbers, emergency procedures, evacuation routes, shelter addresses, lists and location of supplies, critical documents, user ID’s, PIN numbers, credit, bank, retirement account numbers, medical information, insurance information, list of assets. Have your employees really considered what the impact would be if a home PC was stolen or damaged? Could they restore their applications and data to a new PC? Would that only impact them, or your company too?
What would happen if they could not get back into their house for several days? Would they have the information they need? What if they could not leave their house for several days, would they have the supplies they need and know what to do?
What are the benefits or why should you consider this?
· If a disruption is widespread and effects employees’ families, people will be able to return to the workplace faster and be less distracted once they have secured their own households.
· If there is advanced warning, the employees responsible to handle the last minute efforts to secure the workplace, will have peace of mind knowing that their own family plan is being executed. They do not have to wait until they get home since they would have planned ahead of time what should be done and who will do it.
· This important and relevant planning experience will lead to better understanding of the continuity planning process at work. Expect better cooperation resulting in a more engaged workforce contributing better ideas and insights.
· When they leave the workplace each day, they will better understand that the important documents left on their desks and the important information on their PC’s must be able to be reproduced. It is more likely that PCs will be backed up. Documents will be logged in and stored according to the company’s continuity plan.
· For employees who work at home, this is an opportunity to reemphasize the company’s policy of backing up that work and having the work available to their department at all times.
· And last but not least, successful companies foster the sense that their employees are important. This is another way to show that your company cares for its employees and that this company is a family friendly place to work.
How can we do this, aren’t we busy enough? Right now, how are you getting the word out about business continuity planning? Use the same techniques.
· In your newsletter or on your Intranet, deliver a project plan for completing a home continuity plan. Have one task or topic in each newsletter. Include tips and Internet URLs as resources for additional information.
· Include short discussions on continuity planning at department or company meetings. Talk about both business continuity and home continuity issues. Show what they have in common.
· Provide worksheets. Fill in common information to get them started such as contact numbers and addresses for local first responders, hospitals, shelters, government disaster planning agencies; sources for weather updates and traffic advisories; your company’s emergency numbers.
· There is a growing awareness that families must be prepared for the first 72 hours following a crisis. Information and tools on how to create a home continuity and emergency preparedness plan are increasing.
· Share testimonials and experiences. Has there been a local incident such as a tornado, flood, hurricane, or fire? What was learned? What was needed at the time? What is being done differently today?
· If your company is purchasing medical supplies, food, water or other emergency supplies, consider offering to make purchases for employees using your company discount.
All companies rely on its employees. All business continuity plans rely on its employees. All employees care first for their families. This is a Win Win approach.
copyright@2007 Home Continuity Solutions, LLC
The author, Linda Murphy, is Senior Partner in Home Continuity Solutions, http://www.homecontinuity.com
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and request a demo version of the Home Continuity Manager software. It creates a complete home continuity plan that contains both the family emergency preparedness plan and the important personal, medical and financial information needed to respond to and recover from an emergency. Customization, volume and distribution licenses available.
For over 15 years, Linda Murphy has worked in the Business Continuity field for a major provider of Business Continuity and Risk Assessment software, consulting and training. She believes that the time has come to take the lessons learned from business to help families create a plan to not only respond to a crisis, but to have their vital information organized and available so they can start on the path to recovery after an emergency or a disaster.