The BCI has published its annual BCI Emergency and Crisis Communications Report, sponsored by F24. This examines how crisis communication methods have evolved and what are the success-factors behind successful emergency communications.
The report shows that when emergency communications plans breakdown the primary reasons are related to people failing to respond to emergency messages and out of date contact information resulting in people not receiving messages in the first place.
According to the report, the top five reasons for not achieving the expected response levels are:
- Lack of response from staff/recipient: 63.4%
- Lack of accurate staff contact information: 41.0%
- Lack of understanding from recipients: 35.8%
- Staff device(s) were switched off/unavailable: 34.3%
- Failure of manual processes: 23.1%
[Adds up to more than 100% due to the report survey offering multiple choice options for this question.]
The above clearly shows the difficulty that business continuity teams face in this area. You can have the best software in the world to manage your crisis communications, but it will still fail if contact information cannot be kept up to date and if people receiving messages do not handle or respond to them correctly. One of the answers to this conundrum is increased training and exercising and organizations seem to be taking this on board. Nearly 80% of organizations now have a regular scheduled training programme for their emergency communication procedures, with half of organizations (48.7%) training employees 2-12 times per year. In terms of exercising, 36% of organizations exercise their crisis communications plans once a year and 39.4% exercise 2-12 times a year.
While the success of communications may be impacted by human factors, most business continuity teams are getting messages out quickly. On average 67.6% of organizations can activate their emergency or crisis communications plan in less than 30 minutes, with almost a quarter (22.9%) activating within 5 minutes.