All too often, I run into BCM and DR practitioners that talk about their ‘Awareness’ programs and what they do to get their message of BCM/DR awareness across to the rest of the organization. Let’s face it, we all have an Awareness component to our programs but it’s how the Awareness component is executed that will make the difference.
We tend to build our other components such as BIAs, Crisis Plans, Crisis Teams, Continuity Plans, Technology Recovery Plans and others, before we turn to the Awareness component. We tend to wait until we get to a specific point before we begin to focus on getting the BCM/DR message across. I think differently.
The BCM/DR awareness message starts the moment the practitioner begins their role. It’s up to them to educate and work with others in their organization to get the message out there when they start, not when they get near the end or when it seems there’s enough information to communicate. You can communicate awareness right away; there is no reason to wait in getting the message out there.
When the program development starts, that’s when the BCM/DR practitioner has to start getting the message out there. When sitting through Business Impact Analysis (BIA) workshops are being held, then let the participants know what gets done with the information collected. Let them know what they’ll need to do next and how they’ll be participating in it. Let them understand why the program is in place and how it’s going to benefit them and their departments, clients, customers, partners, suppliers, the organization at large and how it will protect the employees. It’s right from the beginning.
There is nothing wrong with holding full scale awareness sessions when you’re further down the program development road. The journey down the awareness road doesn’t begin when you’re half way down the road, it begins when you take the first step on the road.
At every stage of the program development, there’s an opportunity to communicate some level of awareness. You’ll meet with many individuals when you’re building plans and processes, so there’s no reason you can’t give a little bit extra information during these meeting sessions. Think of all of them as awareness opportunities and a chance to get the message out there. Believe me, the sooner people know about what the program is and what it’s about, the better the results and the better the response will be when things hit the proverbial fan.
The more people know and the sooner they know it, the better those plans and processes will work so take as many opportunities you can to get the message out there; don’t wait for a 1 week duration at some point in the year to hold a workshop or two for employees and management. Everything is an opportunity; seize them!
© StoneRoad 2015
A.Alex Fullick has over 18 years’ experience working in Business Continuity and is the author of numerous books, including “Heads in the Sand” and “BIA: Building the Foundation for a Strong Business Continuity Program.”