By completing Step 4, you will learn how to promote the business continuity program (BCP) and coordinate training, as well how to exercise and maintain the emergency response plan and the importance of linking the BCP with organizational culture. Resources are available, linked in the text as well as accessible in the “Resources” section, to guide you through Step 4: Implement. Remember, these guidelines are basic knowledge and you are encouraged to tailor them to meet your specific business’s needs.
How to promote the BCP and coordinate training
- Make all staff is aware of the purpose, creation, and implementation of the new plans.
- Everyone should know warning and communication procedures.
- Everyone should know their role during a disaster.
- Everyone should know where to go during a disaster.
- Everyone should know shelter-in-place procedures.
- One of the best ways to promote the BCP is to exercise the plans within it.
How to maintain and exercise the ERP
- Exercises will check participant’s understanding of the plans, confirm the integration of all essential business functions, illustrate the sequence of events, assess the flow of information, and determine whether there are adequate resources to continue essential business functions.
- There are three ways in which one can exercise the plans: drills, tabletop exercises, and functional exercises.
- Drills: Drills can be scheduled or random. They may include building evacuation drills, team activation drills, shelter-in-place drills, and medical emergency response drills. After-action reports should be compiled and input from all levels of the business structure should be captured. This feedback should be noted and most importantly followed-up on so improvements can be made.
- Tabletop Exercises: The goal of tabletop exercises is to familiarize participants with the ERP. They allow participants to learn, generally, how their part fits in with the other parts of the plan.
- Functional Exercises: The goal of functional exercises is to promote decision making skills while simulating time-lapses, roles, and possible escalations. They typically start with a sequence of events, followed by coordination and real interaction–making the situation as life-like as possible.
All drills and exercises should reserve time for a de-brief where lessons learned and after action reports can be captured. Be on the lookout for areas of confusion and ares of strength.
How to link the BCP with organizational culture
- Designate employees to have roles within the BCP (which generates buy-in) and promote this role in everyday work life.
- Throughout the year, have benchmarks and checks to ensure up-to-date information within plans and that emergency kits are fully stock as well as teams fully staffed.
- Encourage employees to designate alternative commute routes to and from the workplace.
- Encourage employees to keep their contact information current.
- Encourage employees to develop their own communications plans and preparedness kits with their families.
- Incorporate the promotion of the company’s BCP during new hire training (full-time employees, part-time employees, interns, contracted staff, etc.)
Continue to Step 5: Extend
[Source: American Red Cross Ready Rating]