As discussed in our blog, “Enhancing Organizational Engagement in BC Using a Proven Technique: Tone From the Middle,” mid-level managers are sometimes overlooked for the important role they play in helping your organization adopt a business continuity (BC) culture. Because of the nature of their positions, these “tone-from-the-middle managers” can be key in building employee trust and affecting team morale.
Only 40% of the workforce reports knowing company goals, strategies, and tactics. — Bain & Company
How Do You Empower These Mid-Level Managers to Become BC Champions?
- Include them in your BC planning and review processes
Mid-level managers may sometimes feel stuck in the middle of your organization. They have direct mandates from executive leadership about all the things they’re expected to do daily—from managing budgets to meeting financial and production expectations.
While focused on these goals, managers also have to deal with employee and customer issues and fill in gaps as needed. If your BC plan feels like one more pile-on—one that mid-level manager doesn’t feel ownership or accountability for—then your BC initiatives may get moved to the bottom of a long to-do list.
This challenge may be mitigated by including your mid-level managers in your continuity planning and review processes. Instead of feeling like another top-down mandate, this can help your managers feel ownership, as well as give them an understanding of how important they are in the response and recovery process, as well as ensuring company-wide success.
- When communicating, make it feel relatable and personable.
For too long, some companies have addressed BC as another document on a long list of corporate check-box requirements. This tends to lead to stale plans that may not be actionable. Inform managers of what’s in it for them and why the corporation spends money on business continuity. Empower them to make decisions and participate in the entire process. After all, our goal is to educate and prepare your company’s next-level leaders. Business continuity is an important aspect in their development.
- Support them with talking points and inspire them to seek out answers for questions they may not know.
Can your mid-level managers speak confidently about your BC plans? If not, support them with the tools they need for success. In one survey, 93% of managers said they need help and training on how to coach their employees. Leaders don’t want to be caught off-guard with important questions they can’t answer. Provide your team with information about key components of your BC plan. Create a frequently asked questions (FAQ) tool with supporting answers and make it easily accessible. Remember, effective communication is key to success.
- Encourage them to share employee feedback.
After you’ve developed these tools for enablement and education, don’t stop there. Create a feedback loop where everyone—not just mid-level managers—can ask questions or express concerns about the plan. Use this feedback to keep your BC FAQ and plans up-to-date. 60% of U.S. employees say they have a way to provide feedback about their employee experience, but only 30% said their feedback is acted upon by their employer.
- Keep them engaged to increase downward engagement.
The most successful BC programs are constantly evaluated, improved, and tested. To ensure success, keep your mid-level managers engaged in BC plan building, exercises, and reviews at regular intervals. Plan quarterly re-assessments and encourage downward engagement to their team members.
Provide your managers with the time, tools, and other resources to routinely conduct BC plan drills. Encourage them to evaluate their team. How does their team respond? What did they do well? Were there any processes or procedures missed? What could they do better?
Don’t forget to also include BC overviews in your HR employee onboarding. It’s key to ensuring your team members are familiar with BC concepts when your managers follow-up throughout the year.
- Empower them to mitigate situations before major disruptions occur.
Once your mid-level managers are confident in your BC plans for times of crisis, encourage them to always seek ways to mitigate potential problems before major disruptions occur. If they notice a possible risk to your overall security, processes, or supply-chain workflows, empower them to resolve these issues or seek help for immediate resolution.
- Reward your managers and their teams for jobs well done.
Encourage your mid-level managers to share concerns that may negatively impact your BC plans and reward those who provide good intel and mitigation resolutions. Routinely remind employees about the value of their feedback and empower your managers to regularly solicit questions and concerns from their team members. Make it fun! How about a contest with a prize for the best BC plan feedback or solution each quarter? Employees whose managers consistently acknowledge them for good work are 5x more likely to stay at the company, and companies that have recognition programs tied to organizational values and goals regularly outperform those that do not.
With your support and encouragement, your mid-level managers may be key to your total BC success. Remember, business continuity culture is more than a top-down corporate plan. It’s total employee buy-in fueled by tone-from-the-middle managers who build trust and reinforce engagement. Empower them for success today!
For more great industry information, check out our free webinar:
Topics: Business Continuity
Written by Mike Jennings, VP of Advisory Services
Mike leads the Assurance Advisory Services team. During his more than 26 years of business continuity management, disaster recovery and enterprise risk management experience, he has mentored clients and helped them solve their program needs. Mike has worked extensively with clients throughout the world on their BCM programs, including their underlying incident management and crisis management programs.