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Employee Vacations and your Emergency Notification Plan

The grass is green. The days are longer. The school year is over, or winding down. It’s the time of year many people begin thinking about summer vacations.
Business continuity professionals are, of course, no exception.

So, how can you, a person responsible for mission critical resiliency plans and emergency notification programs, really relax (at least a little) on your upcoming vacation? Here are a few helpful tips for dealing with your notification process now, before you pack your Speedos and sunscreen.

Designate and train alternate administrators. Many organizations already have multiple administrators in place, but if not, now is the time to select alternates for backup.

Exercise alternate administrators. Administrators come in all forms. Some are very active with their notification systems, while others touch it infrequently. Before heading to the beach, get your administrators together briefly and run through a few exercises. This will ensure everyone is on the same page, or at least identify shortfalls in knowledge that should be addressed.

Coordinate administrator vacations when possible. During your little get-together with administrators, capture people’s travel plans for the next few months. Potential gaps in coverage may be identified, and alternative plans can be made accordingly.

Send out self-update reminders to employees. Summer is also prime moving time for people in general. This can drive changes in contact information and preferred devices. It’s a good time to send out a reminder to your employee base to update their records.

Consider the use of escalations. Escalations can be used both for administrators and employees. Escalations can be used within any given notification to alert alternate teams or individuals if certain initial feedback criteria are not met. For example, if five crisis response team members are needed for an event, and only three are available because people are on vacation, the notification would escalate to the senior management team to fill the other two positions.

Think through the impact of employee vacations on a particular business disruption scenario, and tweak your notification efforts to address any potential negative issues.

When making vacation plans to cover key business resiliency functions, don’t forget to pay attention to your notification program. A little preparation now will make that well-deserved day at the beach even more relaxing.