Another Example of Why Business Continuity Planning Matters…

Courtney Bowers Courtney Bowers | Jun 27, 2016

Cleveland skyline and the Cuyahoga River, OhioThe Republican National Convention (RNC) is taking place in my hometown, Cleveland, OH, in just a few short weeks. I can feel the energy and excitement everywhere I go. Of course, that energy has been amplified by the fact that the Cavs just brought home the first major sports title in 52 years, but, regardless, the city is buzzing.

Even though most people are excited to see this scale of an event take place in Cleveland – and, let’s be honest, finally have the opportunity to show everyone why the nickname ‘mistake by the lake’ no longer applies – the entire city and nearly all organizations that operate here will be disrupted.

How? Well, access for one thing:

There are many more that I could list, but the point is that all of this leads to the fact that getting to and from work is going to become a rather large and possibly expensive obstacle for employees that work in or near Cleveland.

Now, our internal business continuity team has already evaluated the situation with senior management, and the decision was made that our team will work remotely or at client sites during the week of the convention. It was also communicated that working remotely may be extended to include the week before the convention as well, so all Avalution employees should keep an eye out for updates and changes via our emergency notification system.

As a professional services (consulting) organization, I understand that we have the ability to activate this strategy with ease – many of us are on the road most of the time anyway. However, if the nature of your business requires that your employees be on-site to perform their job, you need to have a plan in place and make sure that it’s clearly communicated to them in a timely manner. More on that in a minute.

The key difference with the disruption that will be caused by the RNC coming to town vs any other type of disruption is FORESIGHT AND TIME:

  • We knew a year ahead of time that the RNC was going to be held in Cleveland; and
  • We knew that an event of this type and scale would complicate or limit our employees’ ability to access the office.

Bottom line – we knew the who, the what, the when, and the where.

Disruptions can happen to any organization, by many means, at any time and place, and, unfortunately, they don’t typically call ahead to give you notice.

Whether a disruption is caused by the loss of a facility (or limited access to one, as in this example), technology, personnel, or a supplier, your organization must have the ability to respond quickly to expedite recovery in order to minimize the financial and reputational impact to the business. And to do that, your people need to know where to go, what to do, and when to do it – ahead of time – to get the business back up and running.

That is the importance of proactive planning. That is the value of business continuity.

And, if you just thought to yourself “we have insurance, we’re fine” … Please take a two minutes to watch this video to understand why that isn’t true: What is the Difference Between Business Continuity and Insurance?

Business continuity and IT disaster recovery planning is all that we do. If you’re looking for help with building or improving your business continuity program, we can help!

Please contact us today to get started. We look forward to hearing from you!

If employees are expected to report to the office leading up to and during the RNC, here are a few items to consider and communicate in the near-term:

  • Are business hours or work locations being modified at all?
  • Will employees be reimbursed for additional expenses incurred (such as increased parking fees, if these are not typically covered or provided by the organization)? If so, is there a cap?
  • What is the process or agreement if employees can’t make it to the office, but are unable to perform their job at home? For example, will you require that they log vacation or PTO?
  • What is your shelter-in-place procedure should the area around your office become unsafe due to protests or civil unrest related to the convention?
  • How will you communicate decisions, expectations, and updates to your employees?
  • How will you track that employees understand what is expected from them?

If employees are expected to work remotely leading up to and during the RNC, here are a few items to consider and communicate in the near-term:

  • Do all impacted employees have the necessary resources to successfully work from home? If not, what is the process for identifying who doesn’t and what’s needed?
  • What is the expectation for availability and communication (individually and as a team) while remote work procedures are active?
  • Is all employee contact information up to date?
  • How will you communicate critical changes or updates to employees?
  • How will you track that employees receive and understand any critical changes or updates?

While this is not an exhaustive list of items to consider, this list should help you address the more critical items to ensure everyone is on the same page and successful during the RNC.


Courtney Bowers
Avalution Consulting: Business Continuity Consulting