According to a recent Everbridge survey, 81 percent of companies reported that their employees expected their organization to help protect them while they are mobile, traveling or working remotely. When an issue does occur, how can organizations ensure their employees safety? We spoke with Alan Borntrager, Steve Crimando, and Imad Mouline about the behavioral, planning, and technological aspects of securing your employees and assets.
Alan Borntrager is the head of global security, safety, and business resilience at Red Hat. Steve Crimando is the director of training for the disaster and terrorism branch in the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health Services, as well as the founder and principle in Behavioral Finance Applications. Imad Mouline is the chief technology officer and general manager of critical events management at Everbridge.
Changing the behaviors of your remote and traveling workforce is of the utmost importance for a critical event management plan. “The mindset issue,” Steve Crimando begins, “is the concept that safety, security and risk mitigation should be shared obligations between the employer and the employee.” If employees don’t see a stake in training for critical events, they may take the “this doesn’t apply to me” mindset. “when they have confidence in what to do, and they also have confidence that the organization is in the state of readiness to respond to a risk or a crisis as well.”
The key to changing the mindset of your remote employees is to “always stress the importance of situational awareness and the two R’s: risk and resources,” Alan Borntrager says. Each individual should be mindful of their surroundings, especially while traveling, but employers should also prepare their employees to do just that through drills. “That’s the sort of thing that may help with a more proactive approach towards keeping employees safe. At the same time, it can also help employees do their jobs better, knowing that ultimately, whether it’s the system, or the processes, or their fellow employees have their back,” Imad Mouline states.
Strategies and Planning
You will never be able to completely “ensure” an employee’s safety, whether they are lone or work in a corporate office, but you can reduce the risk of a critical event by preparing for many scenarios. “Try to provide the data to eliminate plausible deniability,” Borntrager says. Providing employees the resources to know what the risks of different circumstances are is a great way to allow them the opportunity to see the company’s planning measures, and to feel safer.
“People don’t rise to the occasion during crisis situations; they fall to their training,” Crimando states. This means that if an employee does find themselves in a critical situation, previous training could be a deciding factor in the outcome. “Major incident response through practice works most successfully if you help folks build confidence in the “why” behind it, and then the prerequisites for each level,” Borntrager states. Once a critical event or drill occurs, it’s equally important to perform after-action reviews. Auditing your programs will allow you to identify bottlenecks, shortcomings, and successes, and better prepare you in case a real critical event occurs.
“IT resources don’t make us smarter, they make us stupider faster if we don’t have the processes in place beforehand,” Borntrager reminds us. Technology is an incredibly powerful tool, but cannot replace the relationships formed between all stakeholders in a critical event management plan. “
Ensuring that you know who is part of the incident response team, whether it’s regional or global, is essential in the success or failure in your response,” Mouline states, “It can kickoff the appropriate employee accountability processes that may or may not involve travelers, and expats, and local nationals.”
Technology should be multimodal. Look at paid services, social media scrubbing, open media, and law enforcement intelligence. “You need to be looking at the risk climate, different cultural factors, the age of those folks, and their life history. It’s going to be very situationally driven,” Crimando states. “It depends on all those factors, but everyone needs to know this dynamic is ever-changing, and it will never be a fixed point to find that balance.”
To hear the full discussion, be sure to listen to this on-demand webinar, Safety and Security Webinar: Protecting Facilities and Lone Workers. If you would like to learn more about lone worker safety, download our free white paper now, or visit our lone worker safety resource library.