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Communications Dec 15, 2014

How to Create Your Emergency Notification Process

An effective emergency communication strategy starts with letting your employees know your company has thought through critical issues and is prepared for the situations that can impact their safety.

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Business liability is something all business leaders should take seriously. One act of negligence in ensuring your employees, contractors, or customers’ safety during emergency situations can cost your company significant losses. Emergency situations can include inclement weather, security issues, etc., but they can also include events specific to your company operations: Last-minute scheduling changes, software system outages, critical staffing needs, and any other situation that is considered urgent.

By documenting your process, and having the proper communication systems in place during an emergency, you can reduce your liability risk significantly.

According to a recent survey, 51 percent of organizations do not have a written business continuity plan that explains what will happen to the business in the event of a serious weather emergency.

To help you on your path of reducing corporate liability, and enhancing your business continuity, here are four suggestions to help set your employees at ease during an emergency.

4 Ways to Improve Emergency Communication Before a Crisis

1. Updated your employee handbook

Make sure your employee handbook, or the operations document, is properly updated to account for these situations. Document all situations that may be considered urgent, not just the weather emergencies.

Make sure the sections you add include what the communication plan is, what the employee should expect from the company, and how the employee should act during these situations.

Having this documented allows your employees to know what to expect when emergency situations occur, and gives them a sense of confidence in the employer for anticipating problems that could disrupt every day business.

2. Implement an emergency communication system

Phone-trees and call chains days are in the past. Your employees are using SMS, social media channels, and email to communicate as much as voice.

If you are only using phone trees or call chains, you are exposed to mistakes made by employees in the chain. You are also communicating via one channel, which may or may not reach all employees.

Implement an emergency communication system to integrate into your employee handbook, as well as any business continuity planning you do.

When choosing a system, make sure it has a robust backend architecture that you know will support message re-delivery, has failover capability, and zero possibility of losing the message.

3. Automate the communications plan

When you build a communications plan for these situations, try to automate as much as possible by pre-answering these questions:

  • Which company leaders will be notified, and with what message?
  • What employees will be notified, and is that a different message?
  • Will anyone be required to acknowledge they got the message?
  • If they do not respond to the message with acknowledgment, will another message be sent or will the communication be escalated?

A few emergency communication systems can handle this type of communication plan (including AlertMedia) and make it easy for you to setup ahead of time.

You or the employee managing the situation may not have time to think through all the plan’s nuances in the middle of the emergency, so it’s better to be prepared.

4. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Repeat the processes and assurances to your employees often. When winter starts, remind employees that you have a weather policy in your employee handbook, and tell them you have an emergency communication system in place. A couple of times a year, let them know you have a process for critical system outages will include a text and email as soon as the outage is identified.

In Conclusion

By doing the above suggestions, you will be letting your employees know your company has thought through the critical issues, and are prepared for the situations that can impact the employee or the company negatively.

Stack all this on with your desire to take care of your employees in dangerous or stressful situations, and it’s a pretty good argument for implementing a reliable communication emergency communication system.

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