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Risk in Context

Recovering from Lane: 5 Steps to Ensure Business Continuity

Posted by Renata Elias August 25, 2018

Despite weakening from a hurricane to a tropical storm on Friday, the slow-moving Lane is expected to remain dangerously close to the Hawaiian Islands over the weekend. Excessive rain bands continue to spread across Hawaii, contributing to catastrophic flooding on the Big Island, while potentially deadly surf and rip currents due to swells could lead to significant coastal erosion throughout the island chain.

As the state begins its recovery, businesses should take a close look at their existing corporate-level crisis management, emergency response, and business continuity plans, making sure these are best positioned to help their workforce and business during and after this crisis.

As you do, focus on the following critical steps:

  1. Implement your crisis management plan and appoint your crisis management teams quickly and efficiently. This can allow you to get an early understanding of the potential impacts of Hurricane Lane on your people, operations, and property. It can also help you make policy/strategy decisions to address and manage potential impacts — for example, whether to allow employees to take paid time off and/or shift operations to off-island locations, if possible.
  2. Take steps to protect life safety and protect physical assets. This will be crucial if your employees and properties are close to storm-affected areas. Accounting for all employees and protecting property and assets need to be prioritized. Be prepared to provide frequent updates to senior executives and response teams.
  3. Prepare to provide employees and their families with the necessary humanitarian assistance during and after the storm. This should include physical, social, emotional, and financial help. Aside from professional counseling and support services, be ready to provide personalized assistance — for example, providing employees with needed supplies or inviting insurance representatives to discuss filing claims.
  4. Once safety issues have been addressed, turn your attention to keeping your business running. Your plans should cover the management and logistical process for continuing or resuming and recovering interrupted critical business functions. Support should be coordinated between corporate headquarters and local work sites. Attention should be given to ensuring networks, applications, and data are available since this will help support business continuity, including allowing employees to work remotely.
  5. Keep communication lines open. Ensure that employees and other key stakeholders are aware of your response efforts and their results. Provide your people with regular updates on when you plan to re-open and facilitate two-way communication to determine when employees can come back to work. Also consider bringing people back in prioritized shifts.

Recovering from Hurricane Lane will take time and effort. But taking these steps can better position your organization to more limit the effects of the storm and more quickly resume normal operations. And once this crisis is over, you can apply lessons learned from this mammoth storm to bolster your response plans and minimize the impact of future disasters.

Related to:  Marsh Risk Consulting

Renata Elias