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Business Continuity Awareness

A few examples of how we get the message across

We have created highly effective Business Continuity Awareness schemes for many organisations. Maybe we could help you?
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What is business continuity awareness?

Business continuity awareness is about creating familiarity and understanding of an organisations incident management and business continuity arrangements so that the whole  organisation understands the arrangements in place and what will happen if the organisation invokes it's  incident management and business continuity plan. To promote business continuity awareness and ensure that the whole organisation is prepared for a major incident, the approach to growing business continuity awareness within an organisation needs to consider:

  • Who do we want to make “business continuity aware”?

  • What exactly are we hoping to achieve with business continuity awareness?

  • What business continuity topics should be covered to make our audience aware of

  • How do we deliver the content.

 

Many business continuity awareness training courses tend to focus on the need for business continuity plans and what should go into them.  This is fine if the audience is focused on developing business continuity plans but is not suitable for those in the organisation who will be affected by the invocation of an organisations business continuity plan but not directly invloved in the devlopment of the business continuity plan.  Business continuity awareness training based around “why business continuity is important to our organisation” can tend to look like an infomercial for the business continuity function - and by doing so, fails to engage or resonate with the wider organisation. An effective business continuity awareness initiative focusses on the questions above.

Who are we aiming at making “business continuity aware”?


A business continuity awareness programme is primarily aimed at the wider organisation – not the smaller cadre of individuals who will direct the activities involved with initial incident management and recovery. Although the whole organisation will be participating in some way, they will not be initiating plans at the strategic or operational level. So, in terms of establishing organisation-wide business continuity awareness, we are looking to reach those members of the organisation  who will be affected by the decision to invoke the plan. In other words – this is an awareness programme is aimed at  non-specialists – they don’t need to know how to “do" business continuity but they do need to know what could happen when the plan is invoked and what resources might be available to help them understand what is going on.

What exactly do we expect to achieve with business continuity awareness?


We want to ensure that the whole organisation is informed and prepared in the event the organisation invokes it’s business continuity plan. We want to ensure that people will remain safe and that they know what to do and what could happen under specific circumstances (such as evacuation, relocation or building lockdown, for instance).  To do this we might want to run through different scenarios and the arrangements that have been put in place within the organisations business continuity plan. So the primary focus of our business continuity programme is to communicate to colleagues specific arrangements we have in place to manage incidents.

 

What business continuity topics do we want to cover to make our audience aware of and how do we deliver the content.
Having understood the needs of the audience for our business continuity awareness the detailed content that is required to deliver the required outcome. The key to successful and effective business continuity awareness is relevance of the content – relevance to the people you want to reach.  So make it relevant by: 

  • Explaining what is likely to happen under specific circumstances. These will of course be specific to the type of organisation and the provisions and preparations made in the business continuity plan. But, at a minimum, it should include evacuation procedures, building lockdown procedures, arrangements in place for relocation (including transport and off-site accommodation) and remote working arrangements. 

  • Explaining how notification of a major incident will be made. Will it be by sms, via a messaging “app”, telephone call or other type of communication. Visual examples where possible are better than words.

  • Explaining what tshould be done on receipt of the notification. When the notification is received what action should be taken? Go somewhere? Doing something (confirming receipt of the message, monitor an information source, for instance)? 

  • Explaining where and how they will be able to access situation updates. Who will their primary contact be for incident updates? This could be their line manager or a messaging service.

  • Demonstrate senior management involvement – include an introduction by a board director (audio or video if possible) explaining why they have developed a business continuity plan and why it is important that everyone understands the plan and how it could affect them

  • Create familiarisation in the content by showing organisation specific “artifacts”. Showing pictures or videos of any work area recovery facilities, simulation of events (such as what an incident notification would look like) make the content “come alive”, make it more relevant and make it more engaging. Bland, generic content will quickly erode enagement and should b avoided

Business continuity awareness: Making it Stick!


It is an unfortunate fact of life that most business continuity awareness training courses are quickly forgotten. Although a formal presentation is good for introducing the overall scope of a subject is quickly forgotten if the participants are not regularly (but gently!) reminded of it. Bearing in mind that that most people in an organisation are not regularly dealing with incident management and business continuity preparations, their knowledge retention of formal courses will inevitably fade over the course of time.  Creating and delivering a series of periodic  “nudges” can ensure that organisational knowledge is sustained. Some nudges that tend to work well are

  • Providing a quick reference guide that can be conveniently accessed at the time of need. A quick reference guide formatted for ease of use on mobile devices can ensure that relevant guidance can be accessed when needed. This need not be as sophisticated (or expensive) as a dedicated “app”. Documents formatted for viewing on mobile devices can created with standard MS-Office tools and distributed as custom formatted PDF files (which can be read on almost any device) are a straightforward and effective approach to this.  These guides will also be updated from time to time, giving the opportunity for a “nudge” when updates are distributed..

  • Other nudges in the form of “micro-training” sessions can also keep levels of awareness up. For instance, performing a test of incident notification will remind members of the organisation of the incident notification protocols in place. The content of the test messages can also contain links back to the overall business continuity awareness programme, priding recipients with the opportunity to refresh their know ledge of the wider programme.  Posters, pop-ups displayed in prominent positions around the organisation can also provide a nudge to maintain levels of awareness. Using QR codes that allow links to further information are also helpful in providing direction to further information.

These are just a few examples of “nudges” that can be used to maintain and preserve business continuity awareness in an organisation. The overall range of nudges is limited only by imagination and the knowledge of what is likely to work in a particular organisation.

Business continuity awareness initiatives that include the attributes discussed above tend to achieve wider engagement and maintain awareness levels. All of the content outlined above can be developed  with standard office software that is available to the majority of organisations.  You can, however, significantly accelerate the development and deployment of your business continuity awareness programme by using our templates. They have been developed and deployed for many organisations to establish good levels of business continuity awareness.
 

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