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Tips to Establish Effective Crisis Communication Plans for Financial Firms

By Matt Donahue | Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

Many building tenants have a daily interaction with their building’s management. The interaction may be a friendly “good morning” or “good night”. Perhaps you’re on a first name basis with some of the front desk employees. Typically, that is where the relationship ends, and if so, that can potentially lead to some issues in the future.

Being able to quickly communicate and respond in the case of a business continuity emergency or interruption can make a big difference to building management and tenants alike. Additionally, having each other’s contact information can be extremely helpful during regular business hours, as well as, off-hours or holidays and weekends.

Traditional Building Management Communication Methods

During regular business hours, building management has several options to notify tenants. Depending on the type and severity of an emergency, facility management may choose to utilize passive notification, such as email, or they may use more aggressive notification like public announcement (PA) systems or alarms.

While alarms and PAs might help grab the attention of tenants, they aren’t the most effective tools to communicate long or detailed messages. Even planned drills, such as fire drills during regular business hours, are not fool-proof. During this commotion, it may be difficult to locate members of building management and even harder to efficiently communicate.

During non-business hours, if there is an interruption or emergency occurring, facility management will most likely notify all tenants and provide updates until the event is over. If the building is closed, and the notification doesn’t reach the appropriate people, then employees may show up for work, wasting employee time and causing frustration.

The Role of Building Management in Your Business Continuity Plan

Meeting with building management to review emergency procedures and contact information should be done at least annually, even if there isn’t turnover in either organization. Although this review may not lead to any updates or changes to documentation, it’s important to ensure protocols are understood, notification plans are clear and information is accurate. Failing to evaluate these plans could lead to confusion, tarnished reputations and more serious damages following an incident.

The following are key points building management and firms should address and be aware of to help ensure effective communication during scenarios of emergencies and interruptions.

  • Understand building management’s emergency/evacuation plans, especially, how firms are expected to relay information to either building personnel or first responders.

  • Compile contact information of facility management and office employees within a binder.

  • Firms need to ensure that building management has their most updated contact information to guarantee that staff will be contacted in the case of a disruption or emergency.

  • Any turnover within the firm of employees which previously held emergency roles needs to be communicated to building management. For example, should someone takeover the role of a floor warden, firms need to communicate this to building management and provide updated contact information.

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For more information, download our handy Hedge Fund Guide on Business Continuity Planning below.

Photo Credit: Google
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