Vanguard EMC endorses the Reaching Resilience BC/EM conference 2013

There is a lot of choice when it comes to quality business continuity and emergency management conference style educational opportunities in Canada and the US.

The WCDM in Toronto in June is always a big attraction and has provided our profession with many years of sessions to reinforce our knowledge and provoke our thought. EPICC in Vancouver is another venue that has been available for professionals in the Western provinces.

The 2013 Reaching Resilience Conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Center on May 27, 28, 2013 is a focused learning event that is organized by Malcolm Smeaton who in his previous role with the Ontario government chaired a similar event for six years from 2007 to 2012. Each year that conference was a great success, thanks primarily to the support of delegates and presenters. Reaching Resilience includes speakers on security, business continuity, cyber security, life safety, workplace violence, privacy and crisis management. Speakers came from the public service, academia, police, military, business, industry and the legal community. They also hail from all across Canada and the United States.

This year, three members of our Vanguard EMC team will be presenting at Reaching Resilience on the topic of Getting the Best Value from Exercises. In our practice, Lisa Maddock, Cynthia Wenn and I participate in the detailed planning, facilitation and report creation for many medium and large scale exercises including multiple rooms and simulation cells. While providing our clients with methodology, advice and experience we have also garnered a significant amount of exposure to the subtleties regarding what works and what does not. In addition, we have developed some unique methods of simulating communication and social media that will be helpful to the Reaching Resilience conference delegates.

We believe there is good value in this conference and encourage you to look at the program on their web site 2013 Reaching Resilience Conference

Looking forward to seeing you there!

 

10 Ways to Improve your Awareness and Training Programmes – tip #10 Annual Report or Executive Briefing

Now your organization has a thoroughly researched, well written business continuity plan sleeping on a shelf somewhere. Time to get the word out!  All employees need to be aware of their role in the plan.  The various team members need to be given some training before they can start to exercise the plan.

Tip #10 Conduct an annual executive briefing and an annual report on the state of the program

The best method to keep executives up to date on program strategies is to include this information during executive or steering committee meetings so the same people that make decisions regarding risk management strategies are the ones that implement them during a disruptive event.  This also gives board members or ministers the opportunity to question senior management on their responsibilities during an event.  Be prepared with answers or training opportunities.Vanguardtrainingmaterial

Training and testing are intertwined.  After an exercise you may find an increase in demand for further training.  Take advantage of any momentum and schedule training immediately following the exercise while the need is still clear in the minds of participants.

If you are able to use these ten tips to promote awareness and training in your organization, your business continuity program will start to have real energy, your people will start to possess strong BC plan understanding, and your teams will be ready for a challenging exercise.

Congratulations! Business continuity is now a serious endeavour in your organization.

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice Seven – Awareness and Training Programs DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

‘When planning for war, I have always found plans to be useless, but planning to be invaluable.’ General Eisenhower

10 Ways to Improve your Awareness and Training Programmes – tip #9 Employee Orientations

Now your organization has a thoroughly researched, well written business continuity plan sleeping on a shelf somewhere. Time to get the word out!  All employees need to be aware of their role in the plan.  The various team members need to be given some training before they can start to exercise the plan.

Tip #9 Get involved in new employee orientations

Orientations are a great time to provide employees with a general understanding of your business continuity program and to make them aware of ways that they can obtain further information.  Wallet cards or other items should be part of their orientation package.

If you are able to make a live presentation during the orientation, find out if any of the new employees has specific business continuity responsibilities.  Be prepared to give these people specific training information including training times and expectations.  A disaster could occur on their first day on the job!

Book time with new executives to provide them with a briefing on the business continuity program, the plan and any required training. Make certain to offer a tour of the EOC.

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice Seven – Awareness and Training Programs DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

‘When planning for war, I have always found plans to be useless, but planning to be invaluable.’ General Eisenhower

10 Ways to Improve your Awareness and Training Programmes – tip #8 Job Descriptions

Now your organization has a thoroughly researched, well written business continuity plan sleeping on a shelf somewhere. Time to get the word out!  All employees need to be aware of their role in the plan.  The various team members need to be given some training before they can start to exercise the plan.

Tip #8 Have business continuity expectations included in job descriptions of key positions

In the plan you have designated certain responsibilities to employees according to their job title.  Have human resources add these responsibilities to the job description.  This has several important benefits:

  1. Job postings will include this responsibility giving an advantage to job seekers that are already trained for this role
  2. Performance reviews will include a review of business continuity responsibilities
  3. New employees taking over the role will seek out training if they are not prepared for the responsibility
  4. Business continuity will no longer be “in addition to my job” but a part of it

Make sure that you include updating these job descriptions as part of your maintenance program.

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice Seven – Awareness and Training Programs DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

‘When planning for war, I have always found plans to be useless, but planning to be invaluable.’ General Eisenhower

10 Ways to Improve your Awareness and Training Programmes – tip #7 Incorporate BC into other Processes

Now your organization has a thoroughly researched, well written business continuity plan sleeping on a shelf somewhere. Time to get the word out!  All employees need to be aware of their role in the plan.  The various team members need to be given some training before they can start to exercise the plan.

Tip #7 Incorporate business continuity activities into other processes

Consider activities that embed business continuity into the organization’s processes. For example, incorporate activities that support business continuity into your vendor selection, change management, and human resources process. Deliver a presentation on their business continuity responsibilities to new employees.

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice Seven – Awareness and Training Programs DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

‘When planning for war, I have always found plans to be useless, but planning to be invaluable.’ General Eisenhower

10 Ways to Improve your Awareness and Training Programmes – tip #6 Engage Business Partners

Now your organization has a thoroughly researched, well written business continuity plan sleeping on a shelf somewhere. Time to get the word out!  All employees need to be aware of their role in the plan.  The various team members need to be given some training before they can start to exercise the plan.

Tip #6 Provide business partners with a manual that summarizes performance expectations during a disruptive event

To train business partners, provide them with a manual or procedures that summarize performance expectations during a disruptive event.  Involve them during exercises to reinforce lines of communication. Also ensure that business continuity expectations are included in negotiations and contracts during the beginning of the relationship with the third-party.

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice Seven – Awareness and Training Programs DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

‘When planning for war, I have always found plans to be useless, but planning to be invaluable.’ General Eisenhower

10 Ways to Improve your Awareness and Training Programmes – tip #5 Regular Site Visits

Now your organization has a thoroughly researched, well written business continuity plan sleeping on a shelf somewhere. Time to get the word out!  All employees need to be aware of their role in the plan.  The various team members need to be given some training before they can start to exercise the plan.

Tip #5 Take key people on visits to the Emergency Operations Center(EOC) and recovery sites

Taking key people on visits to the recovery sites will familiarise them with the location, the working environment and the facilities available there. Challenge them to choose a different route or a different time of day for each visit or exercise.  This will make route change requirements simpler during an actual emergency. It will also expose time relative traffic issues.

All members of the EOC team should be taken on a tour of your Emergency Operations Center including the executive and the crisis communications team.  The EOC director and back-up should also be given the opportunity to tour the operations center of another organization and speak with experienced EOC directors.

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice Seven – Awareness and Training Programs DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

‘When planning for war, I have always found plans to be useless, but planning to be invaluable.’ General Eisenhower

10 Ways to Improve your Awareness and Training Programmes – tip #4 Drills and Inspections

Now your organization has a thoroughly researched, well written business continuity plan sleeping on a shelf somewhere. Time to get the word out!  All employees need to be aware of their role in the plan.  The various team members need to be given some training before they can start to exercise the plan.

Tip #4 Involve business continuity teams in drills and inspections

Fire drill evacuations are a great time to provide regular employees with additional information on disaster preparedness, emergency response and business continuity. Take advantage of their free time as they mill about the parking lot. It will provide you with an audience already thinking about emergency response and business continuity.

Take fire drills one step further for your emergency response teams and exercise the plan. Instead of a table top exercise try a trunk top exercise or have a team travel to your Emergency Operations Center and perform a set-up.

The BCP coordinator and damage assessment teams may be present for inspections. A third-party inspector can be questioned on the type of damage the team should look out for during specific types of events, such as floods and fire.  They may also be offered advice on the type of information claims adjusters will be looking for.

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice Seven – Awareness and Training Programs DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

‘When planning for war, I have always found plans to be useless, but planning to be invaluable.’ General Eisenhower

10 Ways to Improve your Awareness and Training Programmes – tip #3 lunch and learn

Now your organization has a thoroughly researched, well written business continuity plan sleeping on a shelf somewhere. Time to get the word out!  All employees need to be aware of their role in the plan.  The various team members need to be given some training before they can start to exercise the plan.

Tip #3 Present “lunch and learn” live or web-based seminars

The business continuity planning team can provide “lunch and learn” live or web-based seminars on key topics.  On-demand, web-based training modules are also a great way to provide training on a detailed process to a large group of people.  Many organizations have a training department that can help with the development of these training modules or you can have a third-party develop them for you.

Occasionally, set up an information booth at the entrance to your facilities, at corporate retreats or in the cafeteria.  Here you can:

  • Re-distribute or update wallet cards or other physical materials
  • Ask interested employees to complete short business continuity quizzes and award a small emergency preparedness prize for the most accurate responses
  • Advertise upcoming training and exercises

This is also a great time to speak with employees about their concerns with the program.

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice Seven – Awareness and Training Programs DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

‘When planning for war, I have always found plans to be useless, but planning to be invaluable.’ General Eisenhower

10 Ways to Improve your Awareness and Training Programmes – tip #2 Online

Now your organization has a thoroughly researched, well written business continuity plan sleeping on a shelf somewhere. Time to get the word out!  All employees need to be aware of their role in the plan.  The various team members need to be given some training before they can start to exercise the plan.

Tip #2 Get the word out online

Business Continuity should have a website linked to your employee’s homepage that provides ongoing information on business continuity activities as well as phone numbers and instructions for what to do during an emergency.

Provide regular e-newsletters offering a summary of business continuity activities (including testing results) and reminders on how to respond effectively. Make recent and back issues of these available on the website.

A business continuity blog could be an option, but only if you are disciplined enough to maintain it.  Blogs must be updated regularly to keep people’s attention.

In addition to the requisite informational website, new tools allow online training to be developed once and delivered to thousands of employees on demand. This training can be built with your content, your pictures, and your logo, meeting your specific training objectives. These tools can also provide the ability to develop an awareness “quiz” as a method of measuring awareness or compliance. Common tools used for this type of development include Adobe Presenter (formerly Breeze), Captivate and Articulate.

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice Seven – Awareness and Training Programs DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

‘When planning for war, I have always found plans to be useless, but planning to be invaluable.’ General Eisenhower

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