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This week, Charlie discusses why induction is a key place to set the tone for business continuity within your organisation.

I have just stepped off an overnight flight from Johannesburg, where I spent the last two days teaching crisis management and business continuity as part of a work-based MSc. My brain is not really working, so I thought this week I would follow the “Investing in Resilience” theme of Business Continuity Awareness Week and write about induction.

I think induction training is a really good opportunity to entice newcomers to your organisation and enthuse them about business continuity. You can inform them of the plans you have in place to make sure they know what to do if a disaster strikes. When inducting new staff, there is an opportunity to make business continuity exciting and to capture their interest in the subject. Often the competition during induction is not high, as a handbook introducing the company, the IT usage policy and details of the company pension are not exactly riveting!

I think with business continuity inductions there is always the opportunity to use some video or multimedia to make the presentation more interesting. During my training over the last two days, I showed the new BCI video that introduces business continuity, which I think is excellent – it can be viewed at here. There is also one I like from FEMA, which you can find here. If you search around the web, there are a number of other videos which can be used. In the past I have also written and produced bespoke videos for an organisation to show at their induction. If you are producing a bespoke video, it is a good opportunity to record a clip from the CEO, stressing the importance of business continuity. This will help underline that business continuity is supported at the highest level.

If you have a number of staff being inducted at the same time, you could run a short exercise to get them thinking about the issues associated with an incident affecting their workplace. If they are not familiar with their new organisation, you could run the exercise discussing their personal, family and home resilience.

I think there are some key messages which staff need to be informed of during induction. These are:

  1. What business continuity means to the organisation and why it’s important.
  2. Whether they have a formal business continuity role as a champion or as part of the incident team.
  3. How they are expected to get involved in business continuity on an ongoing basis. Such as:
    a. They should take part in an exercise once a year.
    b. They are expected to visit the work area recovery site.
    c. Take part in awareness training.
  4. What precaution they should take to ensure that they are prepared for an incident. This could include: 
    a. Taking their laptop home every night.
    b. Making sure that their manager or whoever updates the organisations’ notification system has their out-of-hours number. 
    c. Updating their next of kin details with Human Resources.
  5. How they continue their role if their workplace is disrupted for a short period (e.g. denial of access), or longer period of time (e.g. they should work from home or from a work area recovery site).
  6. If they are at home and they hear of an incident which might affect their place of work, how they will find out whether they should come into work or not?
  7. Details of any business continuity helplines or websites for the organisation.

One of the ideas I have always wanted to introduce into an organisation is the idea of a business continuity passport. This would be a postcard document which each member of staff would get during induction or when starting a new role. It would have details of business continuity for their role and have the following on it:

  1. Your role in business continuity is __________ (e.g. part of the department incident team).
  2. How you will continue your role in the event of your workplace being unavailable.
  3. How to find out whether you should come into work following an incident in or close to the office.
  4. How you will be communicated with and updated during an incident.

These points would be printed on the card and their manager could fill in the relevant information. It could then be pinned up next to their desk.

Induction is a key place to set the tone for business continuity within your organisation, so it is worth some time and effort to make it exciting, interactive and interesting.

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