Successfully implementing your business continuity plan requires more than just ensuring your systems are operational and accessible. Success starts with your employees – those who maintain the expertise and knowledge to keep your business operational. Communicating appropriate BCP steps to your employees is essential in ensuring your business is not impacted by a disaster or disruption. But more about BCP communication on Thursday…
Following are three critical steps firms should take to find business continuity planning success:
1. Identify a specific evacuation site in the event of a disaster. Designate a safe location for employees to gather if your firm’s building is evacuated. Don’t forget to:
Make sure the site is ALWAYS accessible. For example, don’t choose a restaurant as your evacuation site if they don’t open until 11 a.m. or are closed on Mondays.
Communicate the evacuation site details to all employees, including those who work at client sites. Because not all employees will necessarily be in the office when a disaster occurs, anyone off-site or returning from a meeting should know where to report to.
2. Designate a team of disaster leaders. Determine who will make the executive decisions when a disruption occurs. This team is often referred to as an Incident Response Team, Recovery Management Team or Business Recovery Team.
The goal of this team is to ensure that a group of employees in leadership roles are responsible for declaring the situation a disaster, overseeing the incident, and delegating tasks as necessary.
The leaders will also determine whether employees should be sent to another location to work (e.g. home, alternate office, etc.) or remain at the evacuation site in hopes that the office will reopen.
3. Provide remote office instructions for employees. If your employees can’t return to the office, but your business needs to remain operational (which, of course, it does!), then employees will either need to work from their homes or an alternate location. Managers should be clear about setting expectations for employees when they are working outside of the primary office location. Be sure to provide employees with the following critical information:
A list of required resources, including computer, Internet access, printer access, phone, etc.
External business contact information for appropriate counterparties, including prime brokers, investors, service providers, etc.
It is important to have a complete and well-detailed business continuity plan, but it’s even more essential to ensure all employees understand the plan and what their individual responsibilities and expectations are. The information we’ve outlined above can easily be printed on a wallet card or quick reference card (QRC) and distributed for employees to keep on them or at their homes.
Once it’s clear to employees what is expected of them, they will focus on ensuring their daily tasks are completed, and ultimately, this will lead to ensuring your business does not suffer additional disruptions at the hands of a disaster.
Be sure to return to Hedge IT on Thursday to learn more about the importance of communication in business continuity planning!
In the meantime, you can read up on more of our BCP resources, such as these:
Photo Credit: Seeking Alpha