Ensuring that everyone in your organization understands before disaster occurs whom they should contact during a crisis is one of the most prudent steps you can take to restore your business. This sample crisis communications policy is designed to give you a framework to help understand who needs to be notified in the event of a disaster and what steps should be taken to help your organization recover quickly. Note that many of the directives outlined here will require you to put together additional documentation to ensure you can follow this policy. You can, of course, customize this policy to meet your needs.
Crisis communications policy
This policy has been established to ensure that in the event of a disaster or crisis, IT personnel will have a clear understanding of whom should be contacted. Here are the topics you should address before a crisis occurs to ensure that communications can be quickly established in order to ensure business continuity:
Disaster recovery procedures for management
Each member of management will keep hard copy of the names, addresses, phone numbers, and non-work-related e-mail addresses of each employee in their units. In addition, management members will have a hard copy of the company’s disaster recovery/business continuity plans on file in their homes in the event that the main building is inaccessible, unusable, or destroyed.
Contact with employees
Managers will serve as the “hubs” of their units, while designated employees will function as “nodes,” calling other workers to discuss the crisis/disaster and the organization’s immediate plans. Employees who cannot reach workers on their call list are advised to call the worker’s emergency contact to relay information on the disaster.
If a manager or employee designated to contact other employees is unavailable or incapacitated, the designated backup employee will perform notification duties.
Notification of key executives
If key executives are unaware of the crisis/disaster, designated managers will contact them via e-mail or phone to relay news and follow-up planning. Managers will refer to the call list in their take-home documentation packs.
For the latest information on the disaster and the organization’s response, employees can call the hotline given in each worker’s disaster recovery packet, which was distributed to you during your last annual review. Included will be information on the nature of the disaster, assembly sites, and directives on work resumption.
Managers will refer to the accompanying list of all relevant vendors and manufacturers in the event that equipment, hardware, or software requires service or replacement. In accordance with company policy, please furnish the vendor with the following information: purpose of the equipment; when purchased/leased; cost; license; and version information. The company’s CIO, or a backup if the CIO is unavailable, will contact insurance companies to assess next steps and to determine whether filing a claim is necessary.
Hot site/cold sites
If necessary, the organization’s hot site at [location] will be activated and notification will be given via the recorded message or through communications with your manager. Staffing for the hot site will consist of managers only for the first 24 hours, with other employees joining the rest of the staff at the hot site the following day. If a cold site is identified and/or necessary, IT personnel will equip it with workstations for managers only until told otherwise.
In-house customer service operations will resume at the hot site or cold site as soon as possible. As stated above, managers only are to report to the hot site within the first 24 hours or to the cold site after it is properly equipped. Customer service representatives will prioritize and address only the most critical calls as designated by their managers. For other common calls and requests, customer service representatives will send e-mails to customers that explain the current crisis and advise them on resolving common issues.
Managers will have hard copies of all relevant documentation at an off-site location to ensure proper resumption of business activities as soon as possible. Managers will transport documentation to the hot site/cold site when directed to do so by unit vice presidents.
Disclaimer: This policy is not a substitute for legal advice. If you have legal questions related to this policy, see your lawyer.