Build engagement across departments.

Building engagement is a challenge for almost every organization when it comes to business continuity planning.  Sometimes it seems like it would be easier to create the whole plan alone, but we all know that in order to be effective,  the organizational resilience plan needs to have input from all areas of the organization.

There are three approaches that risk managers and continuity managers consider when trying to build engagement.  They are fear, framework, and reinforce and support. There are benefits to all, but which approach has the most lasting and productive impact for building enterprise engagement of your business continuity planning process?  Below are some details on each, and an approach that has proven successful with clients.


Approach 1: Fear

The Fear approach motivates by using an external, potentially horrible event, especially using events that have impacted the company in the past. It can also use upcoming audits or audit findings to motivate. This approach gets people’s interest and attention and generates conversation in the short term, but it does not last…after a couple of weeks, people forget and they move on to more important matters.

Fear is a good jump start but in the end, has a short shelf life.  Let’s face it, for some people fear is a pretty powerful motivator.

Approach 2: Framework

The framework approach is where the centralized corporate resilience group, tries to prescribe and define as much of the program as they possibly can. This includes creating policies, schedules and milestones as well as creating very clear instructional documents and developed timelines for planning and testing.

This approach will typically improve long-term participation, however, for many, the milestones become the objective – in other words, completing the plan takes precedence over the quality of the plan. Many planners still continue to procrastinate and then rush low-quality information into their plans.

The framework approach does not solve the overall problem, and by and large, real engagement is still not achieved.

Approach 3: Reinforce and Support

The first component of this approach is to “empower the planner.” Once empowered, make sure to address and remove any obstacles in the way of planner engagement. By spending time and energy in reinforcing and supporting planners instead of trying to scare or manage them, you will be able to cultivate truly engaged resiliency planners.

With reinforcing and support, the risk management team no longer has to push department heads to contribute. In fact, often times they will be pushing you – wanting to learn more, asking about certification and training. These are the people who stay on as planners year after year and who volunteer their planning expertise when moving on to other groups or even companies.

Are you challenged with building executive engagement? Here’s how you can turn the tide and engage your organization cross-departmentally with this white paper from Scott Baldwin, our client when he ran their program at eBay.

White-Paper-Building-an-Army-of-Engaged-Continuity-Planners-at-eBay-5c2f90154454a

Leave a Reply