Why 2021 was the year of critical event management and why it wasn’t enough
Entering 2021, many businesses hoped the worst of the pandemic was behind them. Then the Delta wave came along, with the ongoing pandemic giving way to roiling supply chain and labour crises. As a result, critical event management became a watchword in many corporate boards. But was it enough to keep organisations safe and solvent?
Challenges to critical event management grew more acute
Indeed, the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has made critical event management more difficult. UK data, for instance, revealed that almost a third of businesses weren’t certain what proportion of their employees would be working remotely in the future.
Why does it matter? Well, the employer duty of care obligation remains operative wherever the employee works; and it’s much harder to protect employees working alone and/or in remote locations.
Employers, in their turn, have acknowledged that they lack granular data concerning where their employees are. That data serves to reduce the risk of events with severe continuity implications (e.g., COVID outbreaks).
The use and storage of that data, however, must be compliant with privacy statutes. Most jurisdictions now enforce data privacy regulations (or legislation) – with the largest economic union of them all, the European Union, touting one of the strictest data privacy frameworks, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Many firms operate in multiple jurisdictions, too. Those jurisdictions might even have overlapping frameworks – regional, federal, state, and local. That makes it even harder for businesses to make effective use of employee data, including location and contact details, to ensure safety in the event of an emergency.
The pandemic has also increased the salience of staff wellbeing protocols as a means of organisational resilience. Businesses, unfortunately, proved slow to keep up. Data shows that staff wellbeing is only a consideration in half of organisations’ business continuity plans.
Why digital critical event management is needed in the new year
What’s needed in 2022 then? Organisations have to get serious about digital critical event management, pushing through business cases for the software solutions and related services that have been thoughtfully designed to manage preparation, response, and recovery from events that impact continuity, operations, and safety.
These critical event management solutions provide the benefit of digitisation, a boon when workforces are fragmented, and everyone is online. Besides that, they also provide the following advantages:
- Improved communication and coordination
- Operational efficiency
- Better visibility and situational awareness
- Enhanced threat forecasting
- Leaves an audit trail
- Reduced costs
Sure, sounds great but what to look out for? Well, certain critical event management systems come in handy in creating, retaining, and applying relevant information and supporting resilience-enhancing processes. The capabilities that matter, here, include:
- Rapid plan and team activation. Leverage pre-configured crisis playbooks and checklists to allow quick activation and dispatch of your crisis response teams. Automate and track task allocation to ensure everyone knows what to do so you can restore normal operations ASAP.
- Easily communicate and share information. Built-in communication and collaboration tools like chat, email, SMS, and voice messages make it easy to work in real time with your team, to better coordinate your response and keep everyone informed.
- A central location for incidents. Monitor and generate crisis response tasks, as well as log and share updates, decisions, facts, and assumptions. Produce situation reports and save time briefing stakeholders on the latest.
Finally, 2021 wasn’t quite what we hoped for. But going into 2022, we have the strategies and technologies to make effective critical event management a reality. To read more about those strategies and technologies, download our guide to crisis management.