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Three Ps of Emergency Communication Preparedness

As a business resiliency professional, you know emergencies don’t just happen when it’s convenient. They most often occur at the worst possible times – the middle of the night, the end of the work day, or on the weekends – making communication difficult at best. Even those that take place during business hours can prove problematic given today’s increasingly mobile workforce.

For this reason and a litany of others, you make every effort to ensure your organization’s readiness to communicate at the first sign of trouble. You strategize, you document, you fine-tune. You may even use an emergency notification service like that provided by Send Word Now. (Great choice, by the way.)

While this technology is intrinsically beneficial, there are several things that you can do to further improve its effectiveness. To help you along, consider the following “three P’s” of critical communication preparedness.

Potential – Consider possibilities as realities. Even an afternoon thunderstorm can take a bad turn, resulting in power outages, flash flooding and potentially, evacuations. Always think “worst-case” when planning your notification scenarios; you’ll be much better off in the long run.

Even though thinking worst case is desirable for business continuity managers, you’ll be relieved to know researchers at the University of Cincinnati found that 85 percent of the things we worry about actually never happen. The same study also revealed that 79 percent of us handle the 15 percent that does happen in ways that surprise us with our ability to turn the situation around. (Good to know, but you still need to be prepared!)

Processes – Consistent, positive outcomes are generally the result of effective, well managed processes. This holds true for your emergency notification program. Make sure notification procedures are well defined and communicated to all stakeholders. Send test voice and text messages on a regular basis, so recipients know what to expect and how to respond. This way, they won’t be caught off guard in the event of an actual emergency.

People – They really are your organization’s most important asset. Communicate the reasons why your organization has business continuity plans (to ensure their safety, sustain operations, protect the brand, etc.). They’ll appreciate it even more.

Consider the use of a Self-Registration Portal, through which employees can enter and maintain their own emergency contact information. And, always provide a way for staff to provide updated and/or temporary contact information should they become displaced. This will not only promote a sense of stability at a volatile time, but also help your organization get back on its feet even faster.

By embracing the three P’s of critical communication preparedness, you will demonstrate “Passion” for your work as a business continuity professional, and ultimately achieve greater “Performance” of your emergency notification service. (Maybe there should be 5 P’s.)_