An InformationWeek article by Wendy Schuchart caught our attention because it addresses a problem that plagues business continuity efforts around the globe – the average employee simply does not care. If employees don’t care, the best-laid business continuity plans will be difficult to fully implement.
Here is Wendy’s list, with our own take on each item.
1. They have no idea that a plan exists.
While they probably are actually aware that there is a plan, most of your employees probably have no idea what your business continuity plans consist of, or realize that they probably have a role to play. Unless you want the phrase, “running around like a chicken with its head cut off” to sum up your average employee’s mid-crisis behavior, you have to raise awareness.
Educating employees just once isn’t going to cut it either. Training needs to be regular and repeated if you really want them to get with the program. We’re big fans of running surprise “pop quiz” test scenarios as well, nothing will show you the holes in your existing plans, and draw attention to the importance of being prepared, better than putting them to the test in a realistic scenario.
2. They don't understand the meaning of "disaster."
Disaster doesn’t necessarily mean the roof’s fallen in or a massive fire’s broken out. A hard drive accidentally being wiped or an ugly tweet going out from a company account can have just as much impact, if not more.
One good way to educate employees is by presenting, and even better walking through, sample scenarios covering a variety of situations. Throw in a few case studies of real crises demonstrating exactly the type of damage that can be done by a seemingly simple problem as well. Seeing that disorganized, unprepared businesses often wind up having to cut employees or close altogether is enough to get anyone on board. After all, nobody wants a disaster to leave them out of a job!
3. They are creating new venues for business-critical data outside of the plan.
It’s just so tempting to put your project files on the same cloud services you use for personal life. You can access them from a variety of devices, sharing is simple, and, after all, nobody you actually know has been hacked. If you work with sensitive data, from credit cards, to medical records, to trade tech secrets, you can bet employees have files stashed outside of your system in unsecure locations.
Bottom line - if you have employees who refuse to follow security protocols, even after repeated reminders, then it’s entirely likely they’re failing to follow other rules as well, making them a risk to the organization as a whole.
Yes, doing things the “right” way may take a little more time, or add a bit of inconvenience, but compared to the possibility of losing an idea worth millions, or thousands of hours worth of work, is it really so much trouble?
4. They weren't even covered in the plan.
Would you give 100% to helping an employer get back on track if you realized mid-crisis that no part of the plan was crafted to help ensure your own well-being, or to help you handle your responsibilities under adverse conditions? Fact is, most wouldn’t, which makes watching out for everyone a must if you want them motivated.
5. They have their own disaster at home.
News flash: crises don’t only affect your business. Many, especially natural disasters, impact entire regions, leaving your employees concerned about the safety of loved ones.
Beyond that, sometimes a key individual simply won’t be able to come in, whether because of personal concerns, injuries, or a million different reasons., meaning any critical passwords, procedures and software absolutely must be accessible from a variety of devices and at any given time. There’s nothing worse than watching a crisis escalate simply because you don’t have the password to one single account.
As far as taking care of your employees, doesn’t it only stand to reason that you’d consider their needs when it comes time to plan? After all, you hired them because they would be assets to your company, and everyone knows you protect your assets. Once their families are safe and there’s plenty of food/heaters/whatever necessities the situation calls for, then they’re free to turn their full attention to getting your company back to 100%, which makes providing for employees a win for both parties.
Your employees can be an incredibly valuable business continuity commodity IF you prepare them properly, so always remember the human element when putting together your crisis plans.