Human Concerns

So you’ve dotted all i’s and crossed all t’s on matters concerning your facility, your equipment and your precious data. What about your people? We asked our experts about what’s critical on the human side of this business. Here’s what they said:

Companies should leverage the lessons learned from H1N1. “Many organizations gained their first significant experience planning for people-related contingencies as part of their pandemic planning exercises,” says Roger Peters, Managing Director, RSM McGladrey Technology Risk Management Services.

“The complexities of assessing workloads, skill sets, cross-training and variables outside the workplace, such as secondary risks from caregivers needing to be home and supply chain risks, proved to be more formidable issues than most business units expected. Overall, organizations need to build on their learning experience from the H1N1 threat to prepare for other potential mass absence incidents that may threaten their viability.”

Employees are saying, “Protect us, not just the company.” “With a recent abundance of large-scale, severe disasters that jeopardized the safety of individuals, and economic conditions that make it more difficult to obtain alternate employment, employees are no longer satisfied to know that their organization has a plan to restore computers and serve customers if the company experiences a disaster,” says Troy Harris, a Manager at RSM McGladrey.  “Employees are starting to ask how their company’s business continuity plan protects both them and their livelihood.”

For these reasons, Harris says, employees are paying closer attention to the employer’s security and risk management provisions. “They are also seeking to understand what their role would be in the organization, beyond just the initial recovery effort, once the post-disaster company resumes normal (but possibly altered) operations. Those organizations that are best able to address these concerns will not only increase the loyalty of their staff, but also garner enhanced participation in their risk management and emergency response/business continuity planning initiatives.”

…And they don’t want to be left behind. Ron LaPedis, Founder and Principal of Seacliff Partners International says 2009 saw the emergence of a new trend – workforce continuity (otherwise known as not leaving workers behind).

“While companies have been getting much better at recovering their IT infrastructure,” he says, “many have not addressed the workforce through training and creating alternate work spaces for them. The pandemic planning process laid bare some of the shortcomings in this area and I think that companies will be spending more time on this topic in 2010.”