Natural disasters can deal a huge blow to your business’ operations. Preparing the business today will greatly reduce the amount of time it takes to get things up and running in the aftermath. Business owners invest a tremendous amount of time, money and resources to make their ventures successful, yet emergency planning may get placed on the back burner in the face of more immediate business concerns.
At some point, your business will be disrupted by either a man-made or natural disaster; it’s not a matter of if, but when and what will you do if your business floods? Preparing for the worst is vital to the longevity of the business. An estimated 60% of businesses that go through major disasters are closed within two years; according to the Association of Records Managers and Administrators. Being prepared will determine the success or failure of a business following a disaster.
Natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes and floods are particularly tricky to plan for because they can strike randomly and sometimes repeatedly in the same geographic location. So how would a business survive such extreme threats? Here are a few best practices and strategies to help:
- Compliance: Compliance with building code safety and frequent building code inspection checks are imperative to ensuring that your building is as safe as possible. The same method should be applied to information and technology security. Extreme caution should be taken when it comes to protecting your most valuable business resources. Updating security measures regularly for all aspects of business is the first step in guaranteeing the safety of your business.
- Consistency: Information must be consistent and accurate from source to source.
- Redundancy: A variety of sources for accessing information should be available. Emails, website postings, “800” numbers to recorded messages, face-to-face information sessions, newsletters, and texting are viable methods.
- Frequency: During crises information changes quickly. Therefore, it is important to update messages frequently.
- Circularity: Communication is a circular sharing of information. There must be a method of receiving people’s concerns and questions and responding back with reliable, consistent information.
- Continuity: Oftentimes at the beginning of a crisis there is a flurry of information, which then drops off. Crises can last for a while and people need different types of information from stage to stage. Maintaining communications continuity during all stages of a crisis is critical.
- Inform and educate (pre-crisis): A critical activity of workforce continuity communications actually occurs before the crisis. Informing and educating the employee base about programs, threats, expectations, accepted behaviors and actions will increase the likelihood that the intended response to an emergency will be achieved by making these situations at least a bit more familiar by way of repetition.
- Activate and instruct (intra-crisis): At the time of the incident, communications are used to move employees into action, whether activating teams to manage the crisis or instructing employees to take specific action.
- Account and adjust (post-crisis): Post-event communications focus on accounting for losses and lets employees and others know you are operating under normal business conditions, providing updates as normal business activities resume.
To find out how prepared your business is today to respond to 21st Century threats such as terrorism, workplace violence, natural disasters, pandemics and everyday business emergencies take this quick survey to get a free assessment.
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