When a crisis strikes, communication must be maintained. Employees need to receive updates on what is going on. Organisations need to remain functional at all times.

 

Throughout this white paper, you’ll learn about the importance of communication during a crisis in order to maintain business continuity. We’ll also share the Zecure features that are helping companies in the public, private and non-profit sectors to take control of their comms and protect their people and operations.

Take away points

 

  1. Why Business Continuity is Important
  2. Risks of Not Having Sufficient Crisis Comms in Place
  3. What Should Be in a Crisis Comms Plan
  4. 10 Things to Consider When Preparing for the Unexpected
  5. Solutions to Mitigate Risk
  6. How Zecure Works to Provide Crisis Communications
  7. Zecure Crisis Comms Features

Why Business Continuity is Important

 

A business continuity plan makes it easier to respond to a crisis effectively when one occurs. Without a plan in place, time could be wasted trying to figure out how to react. During that time, it can lead to bigger problems and employees getting into danger

Every organisation needs to have continuity plans in place (Landry) to be able to:

  • Respond quickly
  • Avoid placing blame
  • Leverage supporters
  • Be transparent
  • Put employees and potential victims first
  • Keep a consistent message

As Gov.UK (gov.uk, business continuity planning) explains, effective plans need to be in place to “build resilience” against a disaster, whether it is in the form of a pandemic, a terrorist attack, or anything else.

Business continuity plans allow for banding together when a “what if” scenario presents itself. It ensures that there are actions to be taken by various individuals or departments to keep everything operational. Each and every business or government entity needs a continuity plan, especially when there are 500+ employees in place. Looking into technology and solutions that can improve processes ahead of time is critical.

Risks of Not Having Sufficient Crisis Comms in Place

 

When there are insufficient comms plans in place, chaos can ensue. Employees may be unsafe. Employees may be lost, trapped, or unaccounted for. Employers may also be forced to make ineffective, unnecessary or even dangerous decisions because of not having up-to-date information about the workforce.

When there are insufficient comms plans in place, chaos can ensue.

  • Employees may be unsafe.
  • Employees may be lost, trapped, or unaccounted for.
  • Employers may also be forced to make ineffective, unnecessary or even
    dangerous decisions because of not having up-to-date information
    about the workforce.

There are health and safety responsibilities that every employer must follow (indirect), even when there is a crisis in place. Employees need to feel safe and employers need to do what they can to keep employees safe. With a sufficient crisis comms procedure in place, it is easier to establish a check-in system and seek help when necessary.

When there are unreliable communications, it can lead to misunderstandings, inaccurate information, variable quality of information, and even failure to carry forward information to successive teams.

What Should Be in a Crisis Comms Plan

 

A crisis comms plan should focus on various ways to keep communications open regardless of the obstacles at hand.

This includes:

  • Two-way communication
  • Aids when presenting information
  • Ability to communicate with everyone
  • Effective and safe standards to communicate
  • The ability for people to ask for confirmation or clarification

Incorrect or delayed information can lead to risk. It’s important to be able to identify incidents, establish incident response protocol and communicate action plans to ensure that new information about a crisis is being received.

Things to Consider When Preparing for the Unexpected

 

While many assume that there is no way to prepare for the unexpected, it is the reason for business continuity plans. There is a need to keep communication open, even in a crisis.

While many assume that there is no way to prepare for the unexpected, it is the reason for business continuity plans. There is a need to keep communication open, even in a crisis.

As the Harvard Business Review (Clearfield) acknowledges, there are things that can be considered:

  1. Stop in order to analyse the situation
  2. Use simulations to prepare teams
  3. Know about everyone’s jobs
  4. Move to a virtual space when possible (US Dept of Commerce)
  5. Identify where employees should be positioned
  6. Reduce risks when possible
  7. Maintain PPE at all times
  8. Review communication standards
  9. Understand what can go wrong
  10. Embrace technology

Every business continuity plan, no matter how comprehensive, will never account for every “what if” scenario. Further, no continuity plan can be carried out to the fullest every time. Flexibility needs to be built into a crisis, which is why analysing the situation is critical. It is also important to run various simulations to see how teams can handle a crisis should one occur. Waiting until a crisis hits to see how a team responds can lead to immediate failure.

Solutions to Mitigate Risk 

 

One of the most important aspects of mitigating risk is to establish fundamental steps (Mitre) that help to manage, eliminate, or reduce risk on an acceptable level.

One of the most important aspects of mitigating risk is to establish fundamental steps (Mitre) that help to manage, eliminate, or reduce risk on an acceptable level.

The solution to mitigate the risk depends greatly on the risk at hand. There may be the need to accept, avoid, control, transfer or watch/monitor the risk. Depending on the risk and how the threat grows, the handling option can change at any time. This also demonstrates the need for communication in real-time to ensure that an organisation knows how to adjust its plan.

It’s estimated that over 90% of the population in the UK owns a mobile phone (Gov.uk).

Using Mobile apps like Zecure improves the ability to safeguard and communicate effectively with employees, by maximising features available through a mobile device, such as GPS enabling geo-fencing and location-based worker notifications.

Panic and motion sensor alarms need to be in place to ensure that there is the ability to identify emergencies in an instant, without user intervention. For example, Zecure’s accident sensor can detect a trip or a fall, record video and audio evidence and automatically share the footage with emergency contacts.

The Health and Safety Executive identifies that areas to examine within the safety-critical communications includes not only communications during emergencies but forms of remote communication that may be effective during a shutdown, such as outside of phone network coverage where it’s still necessary to communicate hazards, risk factors, and more.

Technologies are capable of mitigating risk, especially if adopted by a full workforce.

How Zecure Works to Provide Crisis Communications 

 

Everyone needs to remain calm amidst a crisis. The best way for this to happen is for everyone to receive communications, including receiving real-time data regarding the crisis.

Everyone needs to remain calm amidst a crisis. The best way for this to happen is for everyone to receive communications, including receiving real-time data regarding the crisis.

Zecure offers a personal safety app that all employees can download. Users get the help they need and can raise alerts.

Features of the app include:

  • Mass notifications (Including in-app, SMS and email)
  • Marking users as “safe” from dangerous tasks
  • Geofencing
  • Alert management
  • Monitor a journey
  • Business statistics

If an employee suspects they will be at risk, they can track a “journey” by adding start and endpoints. In the event that they don’t reach their destination, alerts are automatically sent in order to get help.

Crisis communications involve identifying the right ways to be proactive. Employees need to feel empowered and protected. With a personal safety app in place, it’s possible to account for all employees while also providing them with the necessary safety net to activate an alert or alarm.

Further, a dashboard provides greater control for employers by being able to see users, report on their whereabouts, and focus on safety for all.

Zecure Crisis Comms Features 

 

Zecure offers the most advanced solution in the personal safety market, giving you peace of mind that employees are accounted for and protected in the event of a crisis.

Key crisis comms features include:

Check-In

Give your employees the ability to check in, giving you peace-of-mind that all are accounted for.

In the event of an attack you can prompt your workforce to notify you of their whereabouts and locate any employees that don’t respond.

High-Risk Zones

Notify staff when they enter a high-risk area and give them the latest advice and guidance.

Ring fence locations and alert your employees as necessary, such as if they enter a high crime postcode or an area that is under attack

Geographic Heat Maps

Monitor business operations and the health and safety of staff.

This feature gives you an invaluable view of the welfare of your people and empowers you to quickly identify high-risk areas.

Wellbeing Report

Track the health and wellbeing of your employees.

Enable your employees to share their physical and mental state at the click of a button and gain access to powerful data to base business continuity decisions on.

Business Intelligence

Reduce the risk of liability and mitigate the consequences of any incident.

Access to Zecure reporting tools and BI ensures you’re one step ahead during any crisis situation.

Communication Templates

Access templates to quickly and easily communicate with your staff by email or SMS.

When time is of the essence drafting comms from scratch will slow your crisis comms response down. Zecure provides templates that you can customise, ensuring you reach your employees fast.

Intelligence Fusion

Pull enhanced threat intelligence and situational awareness information directly into our app.

Take the necessary preemptive measures to help protect staff before a crisis happens by collecting, analysing and distributing intelligence on a mass scale.

To learn more about how Zecure can protect your people and businessstart a free trial.

 

References and useful links

National Counter Terrorism Security Office (2014) Business Continuity Planning [Online].

Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/business-continuity-planning

(Accessed: 20 May 2020)

Carrington, D. (2020) UK Road travel falls to 1955 levels [Online].

Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/apr/03/uk-road-travel-falls-to1955-levels-as-covid-19-lockdown-takes-hold-coronavirus-traffic

(Accessed: 20 May 2020)

HSE (2020) Safety-critical communications [Online].

(Accessed: 20 May 2020)

nidirect (2020) Employees’ health and safety responsibilities [Online].

Available at: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/employees-health-and-safety-responsibilities

(Accessed: 20 May 2020)

Landry, L. (2018) 7 Crisis Communication Tips Every Organization Should Master [Online].

Available at: https://www.northeastern.edu/graduate/blog/crisis-communication-tips/

(Accessed: 20 May 2020)

Telecoms. (2018) How telecoms services would alert citizens [Online].

Available at: https://telecomstechnews.com/news/2018/mar/15/uk-telecoms-alert-nuclearattack/

(Accessed: 20 May 2020)

Gov.uk. (2017) Public Emergency alerts [Online].

Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mobile-alerting-trials-for-publicemergencies/public-emergency-alerts-mobile-alerting-trials

(Accessed: 20 May 2020)

US Dept of Commerce (no date) Computer Security Incident Handling Guide [Online].

Available at: https://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/SpecialPublications/NIST.SP.800-61r2.pdf

(Accessed: 20 May 2020)

Mitre (2008) Risk Mitigration Planning, Implementation, and Progress Monitoring [Online].

Available at: https://www.mitre.org/publications/systems-engineering-guide/acquisitionsystems-engineering/risk-management/risk-mitigation-planning-implementation-andprogress-monitoring

(Accessed: 20 May 2020)

Clearfield, C. and Tilcsik, A. (2018) How to Prepare for a Crisis You Couldn’t Possibly Predict [Online].

Available at: https://hbr.org/2018/03/how-to-prepare-for-a-crisis-you-couldnt-possiblypredict

(Accessed: 20 May 2020)