No matter what goes into business continuity plans, crisis management plans, technology recovery plans and emergency response plans, as well as many other Business Continuity Management (BCM) related items there is a single piece that is represented in every area – every detail; people. For without people, you don’t have a plan. Oh, you may have shinny colourful binders full of charts and diagrams and long lists of action items that need to be actioned when a disaster strikes but if you don’t incorporate the people into those plans, they will mean nothing.
It’s people who build these plans; meeting continuously to build them; participating in various BCM exercises and discussing how to improve on the content. It’s people that ensure copies are kept off site, how to get them, how to use them and when to use them. It’s people that are provided awareness and training on them so why then are people a forgotten component in many BCM programs?
Some corporations wave flags and banners announcing their biggest and best asset is their people, yet when disaster strikes the first thought is to get technologies up and running to continue to service clients. Granted, clients are people but what about the employees and their families who are impacted by the disaster? It’s one thing to make sure that clients continue to receive their services or products but it’s another to ignore – to varying degrees – a disaster has upon employee.
People are social beings and need to feel secure, safe, acknowledge and clearly understand their roles in society; whether that is in families or in the eyes of their employers. With that said, it’s important that corporations see BCM as a social responsibility ensure they have strong BCM programs and processes in place that address people; their clients, vendors, suppliers and above all else, their employees. Employees who feel apart of the organization and understand what’s required of them during serious emergency situation are more apt to help get the company back up on its feet while those that don’t feel appreciated or ignored by their employer are going to stand back and watch executives flounder in rough seas, not happy to find they’re only important when someone (the company) is in trouble.
People are the core of everything a company does; from those that supply the company resources (money, a workforce, raw materials, finished products for sale…) to those that work internal to the company (finance teams, client service reps, marketing personnel, technology specialist…) to those who take that final service or product and sell it on behalf of the company (retails stores and outlets, sales people…). In everything a company does it revolved around people – not technologies. Remember, it was people that created technology to start with and since we don’t have the capability to build Cyborg’s from Battlestar Galactica or the Daleks for Doctor Who, it’s people that are the cement that holds everything together.
All BCM components, no matter what they are, must incorporate people into the planning, development, implementation and the various means of training and awareness. It is one thing to have a process in place but if people aren’t incorporated into the plan – to know about it for starters – that plan will fall by the wayside because no one will be connected to it. It’ll just be another binder collecting dust on a shelf.
If you have any doubts about incorporating people into BCM programs, plans, policies and procedures do yourself a favour – take a look in the mirror at some point in the day and decide if the person you see is worthy of being important. I’ll be you believe that person is.
Don’t forget people in your plans; it’s a social responsibility after all.