DRI International (DRII) has developed an overview of professional practices designed to “assist the entity in the development and implementation of a BCM program.” In addition to being sound resiliency methods, these practices serve as a foundation for various DRII business continuity professional certifications.
With this resource as a guide, we at Send Word Now are briefly examining each professional practice, tying in relevant concepts surrounding emergency communications. Our seventh article in a series highlights DRII’s Professional Practice Seven: Awareness and Training Programs.
If you’re following along in our business continuity professional practices blog post series, you know we’ve covered a great deal of ground up to this point. We’ve previously discussed topics such as initiating a BCM program, risk evaluation and control, business impact analysis and business continuity planning and implementation. We’ve also tied in emergency notification practices and concepts to each of these areas of discipline.
In this post, we’ll examine DRI’s professional practice seven which relates to implementing a program for ensuring: 1) the organization is keenly aware of business continuity efforts, and 2) staff is well-trained in order to respond appropriately during an event. According to DRI, the business continuity manager’s roles in this phase include:
• Establish objectives for the awareness and training program
• Identify requirements for awareness and training
• Identify appropriate internal and external audiences
• Develop the awareness and training methodology
• Identify and acquire any necessary tools
• Identify external awareness and training opportunities
• Oversee the delivery of awareness and training activities
Emergency notification is an integral component of the larger business continuity planning equation. Building awareness and implementing training is an appropriate targeted approach for critical communications. Consider these key points:
Use notification technology to bolster overall program awareness. While a business continuity plan is something most people in your organization will never see (or fully appreciate), notifications received as part of a training experience can serve as tangible reminders that a program is in place. Use the testing functionality of your notification service to drive greater audience awareness.
Create notification groups to reflect your internal and external audiences. Since you already invest time defining appropriate training audiences, make sure these audiences are defined as groups within your notification service in order to reach those designated contacts quickly in an emergency situation.
Make sure training methodologies include sufficient recipient training. System administrators need specific training for launching notifications and managing data. However, don’t forget recipients need training, too. Regular tests and exercises give employees the experience of receiving, navigating and responding to automated alerts.
Learn from training notification results and adjust your overall plan where necessary. Many times, plans are made based on assumptions (e.g., the percentage of your employee base that will respond to an alert). Notifications sent for training purposes can be analyzed to provide practical insights which might cause you to reevaluate prior suppositions. Use what you learn from testing and training to modify objectives or response actions where appropriate.
Building sufficient awareness and implementing effective training is not an easy task. However, these steps are crucial to the success of any business continuity program. Proper awareness and training can help ensure people are comfortable with organizational expectations and desired procedures, while generating greater appreciation for the role they play in the bigger picture.
If you’re interested in learning more about DRI International’s BCM certifications, you can find additional information here.
Watch for future installments in this series. It should be noted DRI International is not listing these professional practices in order of importance, and suggests some of these may be undertaken in parallel with one another.