We are all looking to build resilience into our businesses, but it’s worth remembering that resilient businesses and organizations are not an island unto themselves. For organizations to be resilient in the face of disruption, the communities they are in must be resilient as well. Obviously, an organization can’t keep moving forward if every disruption leaves its surrounding community struggling for basic needs. Organizations would do well to look beyond their fence line and evaluate the needs and resilience challenges of the communities they belong to.
When it comes to the community, businesses need to look at the people in their communities, particularly their own employees, customers, and vendors. As the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation puts it: “people are the most overlooked asset when planning for a disaster as businesses tend to consider their physical space or operations without acknowledging the people needed to run them.” Your employees and other team members need to be safe, healthy, and have the ability to perform their jobs, but it goes further than that. If your team members aren’t sure their families are safe, their performance will likely be affected dramatically. Not only is making sure your community can withstand shocks the right thing to do, it’s also something that can help keep your business on track.
Communicate with Community Leaders
The focus on the people in your community doesn’t need to stop at team members. Keeping the lines of communication open with community members is vital before and during a risk incident. Obviously, physical infrastructure needs to be able to withstand shock, as this will help keeping goods moving in and out of a facility and along whatever roadways and waterways you use. It also helps to ensure that your talented employees can get to the job site. Communication and a strong working relationship with local governments and other organizations will help you ensure the resilience of your community’s surrounding infrastructure. It’s possible that government agencies in your area have already undertaken studies and have relevant risk assessments and data. Working in partnership could allow your company to have access to information you don’t have currently, and it could give an opportunity to create a consensus for risk and resilience priorities.
Also, working ahead of time could start the communication so that coordination is smoother once a disruption hits. No one wants to start that process when times are chaotic, so this is something to start before disaster strikes. Outside data and expertise could prove invaluable when the time comes. According to ready.gov: “Sharing information helps translate ambiguity into clarity. Sharing is also based on a trusted relationship. Developing this trust within a community or state emergency operations center, state fusion center, business emergency operations center, and other information sharing centers can enable business and government leaders to improve decision-making.”
Here at Veriscape we make a strong focus on people our priority, as it is at the core of our founding values. These tenets are part of Veriscape’s Vision Statement:
- We believe our most important assets are people.
- Our customers are not faceless corporations, but people with hopes and dreams of their own.
- Our employees are not merely “human resources” but individuals who joined us because we share a common vision.
Our focus on people and the community isn’t just in our blog feed; it’s in our company DNA.
It might feel like a burden to have the additional worry of a community’s resilience as well as your own organization’s, but nobody is in it alone. As Gregory Unruh of George Mason University explains “In this process, business is both a partner and beneficiary. Participating doesn’t mean business takes on sole responsibility for community resilience. Instead, you become a real citizen of the communities you touch.” By helping to make those communities more resilient, your business will be more resilient in turn.