You’ve thought through the contingencies and documented your plan. To make it effective, you’ll need clear and thorough communication.
- What’s the emergency chain of command? Who takes on key responsibilities if those typically in charge are unable to do so? Set expectations. Name specific roles and actions.
- Assign a management team accountable for immediate response and employee safety.
- If your contingency site is being leased, communicate with the tenants about space allocation during an emergency.
- Open lines of communication with those beyond your walls. Remember to include your customers, vendors and banking institutions. Public agencies and local services also need to know your plan.
- Document and distribute all the above information.
Sharing and communicating your plan is vital, but don’t let it collect dust. Make preparedness part of your culture.
- Run training and Q&A sessions. Consider providing online resources or bringing in speakers to share experiences and best practices.
- Incentivize participation. For example, give a disruption-preparedness quiz and reward people for perfect scores.
- Practice your plan. Run through scripted crises in a tabletop simulation.
- Regularly update emergency and contact information.
Even after a crisis has ended, you need to stay diligent.
- Monitor banking services and payroll to ensure consistency.
- Stay alert. Businesses are more susceptible to cybercrime and fraud during sensitive times.
- Be empathetic. Consider employees’ emotional needs post-crisis. In some cases, you’ll need to be ready to offer access to support resources.
Focusing on preparedness and including everyone in the process helps your business minimize disruption, and it sends an important message: You care about your business, and you also care deeply about your customers.