Cross-departmental collaboration can be tough for most companies. And even more so for business continuity planners, who must cope with the challenge of internally selling a business continuity program and getting the time commitment for something many employees believe may never happen—a crisis or disaster.When creating a business continuity plan, the participation of employees in every department is important. In fact, you can’t put an effective business continuity plan into place without the buy-in of executive leadership and the support of employees from every department in the organization.
In a survey from one of our recent webinars, BC professionals indicated that lack of executive buy-in and organizational engagement were two of the most persistent challenges to implementing effective continuity plans.
In this post, we’ve outlined three strategies that will help you gain the buy-in and employee engagement you need to successfully build and execute a BC plan that will work when it matters most.
3 Ways to Boost Employee Engagement for Your BC Program
- Establish Awareness
The best place to begin is with an internal awareness campaign to promote what business continuity is and why it’s important. By sharing why BC is critical to the success of your company, you can help to bring attention to why it’s necessary for your company’s survival.
One way to get each department involved is by sharing examples of incidents and how they can impact individuals. Hold in-person or online meetings, share presentations, hold question and answer sessions and provide simple informational documents to ensure your message is understood.
Pay attention to which methods garner the most interest and then use those more frequently. Often in-person meetings or contests will resonate more effectively than email with certain constituents. Using a variety of communication methods and tools ensures that interest can be inspired in different ways.
You will likely need to run multiple campaigns, not just one, to gain interest in your program, so don’t abandon efforts if your first campaign doesn’t yield the results you’re looking for. You may need to hold quarterly or monthly awareness meetings or contests to build and maintain momentum.
Integrate Team Members
As you gain interest from executive leaders and employees, be sure to integrate them into your planning team. This is especially important as there are often inter-departmental dependencies that require teams to work together. Ultimately, the BC plan should be viewed as their plan rather than something you’ve created and imposed on them.
Integrate yourself deeply in the process with each department. Initially, each department may not understand how much a crisis or disaster could impact their day-to-day contributions to the overall company, nor may you until you learn more. Get to know how internal teams serve both internal and external customers.
Discuss what could happen if you don’t have specific individuals involved. For example, if a disaster occurs, will HR still be able to get payroll out the door if the payroll manager is unable to come into work? What’s the backup plan if the area surrounding your office is flooded, preventing that employee from accessing their computer?
Discuss these types of scenarios and be available to meet individually with departments, employees and executives to show how your plan supports everyone and can help them address challenges effectively.
- Give Recognition
Who doesn’t love recognition? Practically everyone, which is why it’s essential to recognize those that are participating in helping you create your plans. Share results with the entire company. Hold a catered lunch for your most valued participants,and thank them for their contributions. Award a department leader of the month. Your best bet is to keep everyone that is participating engaged for the long-term, not just during the planning phase.
It will take more than just one meeting to spark interest and participation in creating a BC plan. You’ll need to remain vigilant in getting key employees involved in order to generate a plan that works. Don’t give up if it takes time to gain interest. The long-term success of your company depends on it.
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Topics: Business Continuity
Written by Assurance Software
Assurance Software takes your company’s enterprise-wide business continuity and resiliency program to the next level. With Assurance as your go-to partner for continuity and resilience, you can confidently mitigate risk, manage recovery, and safeguard your employees, customers, operations and brands.