Getting Voted Back onto the Island
Part 3 – Gratifying: Emotional, Interpersonal, and Spiritual Needs
By: Dr. Maurice A. Ramirez
An increasing number of business continuity professionals and disaster recovery experts are discovering that the most vulnerable links in the continuity of operations chain are the people a business serves and those who serve them. While this seems intuitively obvious now, for decades, resolving the fragility of technology has been the exclusive focus of the industry.
This series has explored why employees and customers are prone to staying away from business sites, gathering their “tribe” close, and effectively voting businesses off the island. Last month, this series explored Surviving: The Physical Needs, discovering that in the modern age of organized disaster response, emergency services, and volunteer aid, the window of opportunity for a business to be “useful” or even “relevant” is vanishingly small. However, when a business has built relationships with employees, customers, and their tribes and partnered for the survival needs of their tribes, the business becomes part of the tribe and gets to stay on the island.
Do More Than Safeguard and Sustain
The business that fails to safeguard and sustain employees, customers, and their tribes will find themselves alone on disaster day. Even those businesses that partner with these tribes will be voted back off the island unless more is done. In the information age, the tendency to immerse in constant news feeds and updates leads businesses to believe that everyone will want even more information during a disaster. Studies of disaster survivors have shown that this type of constant bombardment results in personal isolation, information overload, and severe disaster-induced stress. Before information can be processed productively, foundational survival needs must be met, emotions must be soothed, tribes must be connected, and spirits must be raised.
Ensuring Emotional and Spiritual Comfort
Televisions and radios continuously tuned to disaster-related news serve as a constant and painful reminder of the disaster. The emotions of employees, customers, and their tribes during and after a disaster will determine whether these people will continue to return to a business. These people are often unaware of why they fail to return, knowing only that the thought of returning makes them uneasy. Employees and customers who have visited once after the disaster may fail to return despite knowing they are safe. People want to get “back to normal” during and after a disaster” as quickly as possible. The business capable of providing a “normal” environment can take advantage of a huge opportunity to be a source of comfort for employees and customers.
Maintaining Their Interpersonal Connections
In addition to comfort, adversity and disaster spur people to seek connection to their tribe and others who have shared the experience. While the constant bombardment of news and information can be discomforting, the ability to reach out to those dearest at any moment is critical. The same information technologies that work against comforting employees and customers by inundating them with disaster updates aid businesses in keeping employees and customers connected to their lifelines. Who better to advance this form of business continuity than the business continuity professional and the disaster recovery expert?
Everyone needs the ability to reach out to their lifelines, whether by text message, email, or voice communications. Business continuity and disaster recovery professionals are experts at establishing and maintaining communications systems. This application of the technology makes the business continuity professional expert at keeping the tribe together and the business on the island.
Gratify Their Needs, and They Will Satisfy Yours
Maintaining profitable operations is the greatest challenge for a business laboring under adversity or responding to a disaster. Even in the wake of a disaster, consistent business operations are essential in today’s business climate. Combine these with a business survival plan that imbues a sense of safety while sustaining employees, customers, and their tribes, and the stage is set for plans to become a reality. When the weight of adversity is great, it is often best for a business to provide an oasis of normalcy, a cocoon of comfort, and a conduit of connection. By caring for their heart and soul, the relationship with the business becomes of equal value to all other relationships within the tribe. Now they will stay on your island.
The next segment of this series will examine,
Part 4 – Gathering: Tactical, Intellectual, and Societal Needs.