Last Wednesday the 18th October, I was asked to attend and present at the Wellington BCI Forum. My chosen topic was around “The Importance of Training and Awareness of Business Continuity”. Although I’ve been talking about this subject awhile now, it still rings true as one of the most important topics in business today.
A common theme that kept coming up during my presentation was how organisations and Business Continuity (BC) professionals really struggle to engage their colleagues and build awareness of the importance of BC and Incident Management.
How do you achieve a culture around this when, realistically, no one will care about Business Continuity as much as you do?! I’ve met a lot of organisations and Resilience Managers in the last few years who have their own techniques around this. For example, Paul Baunton of Tauranga City Council said that he “grew the respect and trust of [his] colleagues over years of good communication”. He worked hard on making sure that when asked for a favour, he delivered. Then, when it was time to introduce BC, that person could return the favour.
I would be interested to hear how you and your organisation have helped introduce a Business Continuity culture to your colleagues in the comments below. What tips would you pass on to help others? Was there anything in particular that you felt clicked for them during your campaign?
With this in mind, I wanted to give my two cents on this subject and offer you, my readers a free tip! Here it is:
Add a little extra to your Emergency Evacuation drill
The next time you do a practice evacuation drill, not a real one, in your building have a look around – you have all your staff in one place because of one key event.
When these people are all safely to their assembly area tell them this is not just a fire evacuation today, it has now become a Business Continuity event.
Explain that, as of now, everyone is locked out of the building for the rest of the day and cannot return under any circumstances (this includes management!) Now you’ve got their attention, they will probably start thinking some if not all of the following
- They’ve left their phone on the desk.
- They’ve left their keys there too.
- They’re going to miss an important meeting.
- Maybe they need to pick the kids up from school, but have no car keys or phone to arrange otherwise.
- Perhaps an external consultant or visitor is scheduled in?
- They have an urgent email to get out to a client.
Regardless of their personal situation, there are going to be concerns that need addressing. After about 5 mins you can re-address them and tell them they are free to go back to work. You can be pretty confident they will be reflecting on how they would have coped if this had been a real event. They will probably be talking about Business Continuity for the rest of the day.
You’ve just done a full organisation Business Continuity awareness session, for free.
Until next time, plan, do, check & act…