If disaster strikes tomorrow, how prepared would your organization be to deal with it?

If disaster strikes tomorrow, how prepared would your organization be to deal with it? This depends on how much attention you paid to business continuity planning. There are many sorts of disasters that can impact your business. How prepared you are for an emergency and how you handle, it can make the difference. This is a cruel reality for many businesses. Statistics have shown that 43% of businesses that have been affected by a disaster will never recover. And 29% will close within 2 years of the disaster happened.


When a business is disrupted, it costs money – this means lost revenue. Depending on the length of the disruption and the costs of solving the problem the losses could be huge, and insurance may not cover the true cost of the disruption, and it certainly won’t bring back any customers that you have lost. Regardless of the type of disaster that could potentially befall your business, by allocating resources, developing business continuity plans, and training employees in disaster preparedness, your business can be more resilient and therefore more likely to survive a disaster situation. When creating your business resilience strategies, these are steps you should undertake to help inform it:


  1. Conduct a detailed risk assessment, how prepared would your organization


Carefully look for strengths and weaknesses from a risk perspective, and identify any scenario that could potentially disrupt your operations. 


  1. Determine your business  essential services


During an emergency you may be faced with diminished staff numbers, unavailability of materials and supplies, power disruptions, or transport and communication problems for an extended period.


What functions in your organization must be carried out for your business to survive?. Generally, this will include activities that are essential for health and safety, or that will have a big impact on the business and could lead to the failure of the business completely if not carried out. In some industries, there may also be activities that have to be carried out by law.


By identifying the services that have to function in an emergency, you can assign resources more effectively. 


With the remaining functions that your organization carries out, identify if there are any potential issues if this work is not done in a period.


  1. Establish a team to deal with emergency preparedness, how prepared would your organization 


Form a committee or task force internally within your organization, with representatives from different parts of the company and from different levels of staff to be responsible for developing and implementing your emergency preparedness response.


The team should include people with a solid understanding of the company’s functions and objectives and be led by a manager who influences to successfully embed the strategy within your company.


The team should be responsible for developing the business continuity plan and any relevant policies and procedures that also need to be implemented in the organization alongside the plan to ensure your business can continue to function, in some capacity, during and after an emergency.


  1. Determine if you have effective internal communications functions in place


Being able to communicate with your employees during a crisis is vital to ensure your business continues to function as you recover from what has unfolded. Without clear direction, employees will not know what is expected of them.


When your business continuity plans are being implemented, they must know what aspects of the company are a priority for it to function during that period, what the situation is, and when “normality” is expected to be restored.


Having an intern communication tool will help to keep your business working properly. Notification tools, such as DeskAlerts, are a wise choice as they send notifications to all the staff to their computers and phones.


  1. Carry out appropriate training, how prepared would your organization


Business continuity plans its pointless if it’s something that is created and filed away. To create business resilience, it needs to be present as a primary tool, employees need to understand that some risks can strike the company.


Just as you would communicate plans about what to do in an emergency (for example, evacuating during a fire) – communicating with employees what to do after an emergency is just as important – for example, that same fire burned down your head office.


Employees may have specific roles to play while implementing your business continuity plan, members of the emergency response team specifically. They may need specialized training to fulfill these roles.


Similarly, employees who have “non-essential” roles who may be redirected to other priority work during an emergency may need the appropriate training (and possibly ongoing refresher training) so they can perform in those roles during a business continuity situation.


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