Organizational Resiliency (OR) is an increasingly important issue in today’s ever-changing business climate. Business disruptions can be caused by cyber-attacks, configuration changes or natural or man-made disasters, disrupting business services, hampering productivity and resulting in substantial financial losses. Having a formal OR Program comprised of Business Continuity (BC), Disaster Recovery (DR), Crisis Management (CM), Incident Management (IM) and Emergency Management (EM) is critical to restoring applications and services, safeguarding organizational assets (including reputation), and mitigating risk. Although, in the event of a business disruption, even organizations with the strongest of OR Programs can experience greater risk than anticipated when its employees are unable or unwilling to engage on organizational recovery because their primary focus is on their families and homes.
Employing a Personal Preparedness Program allows organizations to help their employees prepare their own families and homes in the event of disaster, increasing their ability and willingness to come to work and assist with their organization’s recovery efforts. These programs can not only shorten recovery times and increase operational efficiency for organizations during continuity and recovery efforts, but they also demonstrate a dedication to employees and the well-being of their families.
The Mazars Consulting Resiliency Team works with clients to develop and implement OR Programs and collaborates with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to deliver tailored Personal Preparedness training, as well as shelter-in-place (SIP) trainings across the District, Maryland and Virginia (DMV) regions. These trainings are interactive, situation-based workshops and drills designed to help individuals think through how they should respond in the event of a disaster, both at work and at home. Both the Personal Preparedness and SIP trainings challenge employees to think creatively in considering:
- Their plan for communicating with their loved ones;
- Whether they have family emergency plans;
- If they have arranged care for their families if a disaster should occur while they are away from home;
- Whether they have sufficient emergency supplies (“go bags”) available (in multiple locations);
- What emergency supplies should be included in their “go bags” (water, food, medication, pet needs, etc.); and
- Where to report in the event that SIP is necessary.
Local, state and federal emergency management agencies endorse Personal Preparedness and SIP trainings because they create a more prepared populace, help organizations more quickly get back to “business as usual,” and enable first responders to respond more efficiently by alleviating transportation network congestion.
Many organizations draft business continuity and/or disaster recovery plans and celebrate that accomplishment, but this is not enough to ensure preparedness in the event of disaster. Plans are just words on paper, whereas preparedness represents a shift in culture. Organizations may rest easier knowing they are poised to minimize business disruptions once they implement a fully integrated OR Program – one complete with well documented procedures, a trained workforce, and successful exercising and maintenance of all OR Program artifacts – and have employees who are ready and able to support recovery efforts because they are prepared for disaster both at work and at home.
Editor’s note: This article was submitted by the Mazars USA LLP.