Have questions about the CO:RE Packaged Corporate Resilience solution?
Our experts offer answers to many questions we've been asked about the importance of implementing a Corporate Resilience program, including Business Continuity, Crisis Management and Crisis Communications response efforts to help mitigate the potential impacts of a crisis event or other company disruptions.
COPORATE RESILIENCE OVERVIEW
Corporate Resilience (CR) is the ability of an organization to anticipate, prepare for, respond to and most importantly, recover from negative events. CR seeks to minimize disruptions that impact employee security, interfere with critical businesses processes and potentially damage an organization’s reputation. Resilient-minded organizations continually optimize their disruptive event response processes and use learnings from each event to adapt to changing risk profiles.
Business Continuity (BC) provides plans and activities to recover critical business processes that were lost, interrupted or halted at the onset of an event. Continuity of operations is the lifeblood of every business, and a strong BC function helps businesses prepare effectively and respond decisively, with minimum disruption.
Crisis Management (CM) is how a company responds quickly and effectively to the consequences of a negative event. CM is focused on the strategic ‘what’ to do and takes into consideration how the impacts of a crisis event cascade across all business lines and operations, effecting brand, reputation and the trust that has been built up with stakeholders. An effective CM function requires a documented, repeatable process that drives analysis of the current event, fosters development of an overarching strategy, and helps structure the workstreams and actions needed to bring the crisis to resolution. Regular training and exercises are included as critical program elements to ensure the team is ready to respond quickly and efficiently, regardless of the nature of the crisis.
BC’s goal is to return to normal operations, or at the very least, sustain the bare minimum of critical processes that allow the company to operate. CM’s goal is to protect the brand, reputation, license to operate, and trust built up with stakeholders. Both require risk analysis, and comprehensive planning and preparation, including response simulation exercises.
Crisis Communications (CC) protects the trust you have built up with your key stakeholders: employees, investors, suppliers, government and regulatory agencies, and communities by effectively informing them of your response activity, recovery progress, and measures to mitigate future impacts. Every crisis situations develops, escalates, and subsides at its own cadence. Throughout that progression of unpredictable events, the CC team remains alert to every change, considers its impact, listens – and manages the company’s message – ensuring that what a business does and what it says publicly during a crisis event are always aligned.
JUSTIFICATION/BUSINESS CASE FOR CO:RE
The impact of unexpected events on companies is stark and sobering. In the year after a typical crisis, such as a cyberattack, extreme weather event, or a product recall, businesses face an average five percent drop in value. When poorly handled, a crisis will also damage the company’s reputation, restrict its ability to operate, and erode the trust of employees, customers and stakeholders. Companies that are prepared with successful planning and clear, effective communications experience quicker, and stronger recovery, while minimizing disruption and increasing strength. Further, companies are increasingly recognizing the importance of corporate resilience as a mission-driven duty of care for employees and the communities in which they work and live.
With the hyper-speed of information flow across the Internet and in particular social media, mid-tier businesses are facing an increasing and evolving risk landscape. The way events are managed by leadership, the company culture, community opinion – all coalesce with greater speed in the court of public opinion. In addition, pandemics like COVID-19 and the increased frequency and severity of natural disasters and weather events, have proven that there can be serious impact across industries, sizes and scales. Today, no company can really be under the radar. Whether it's local or regional within a business’ footprint, mid-tier companies can no longer afford to ignore or try to “ride out” negative events.
The impacts of a crisis event can include threat to employee safety and wellbeing, disruption of core business operations, physical property damage, revenue loss, supply chain disruption, loss of customer, investor and other stakeholder confidence, adverse legal and regulatory action, and reputational damage that can have both immediate and long-lasting negative effect.
The economic value of a strong corporate resilience function and culture will vary based on the company and its risk profile. Given that in the year after a typical crisis, businesses face on average a five percent drop in value, companies should consider having a cost-effective resilience function as a necessary and desirable measure for protecting employees, business assets and stakeholder interests.
Witt O’Brien’s CO:RE service is a practical, relevant and economical way to build corporate resilience. We have boiled down best practices from across the resilience disciplines of BC, CM and CC to reinforce our approach and the content we develop and tailor to your specific company that will comprise your resilience program.
CO:RE provides the protection businesses need through a unique blend of preparedness and response support. For preparedness, CO:RE develops a checklist-driven playbook designed around your business operations, team structure, and culture. As well as staff training, development and exercises. For response, we leverage our existing Watch Center and the watch standers who monitor a custom 800# we establish for your company – multiple shifts a day, seven (7) days a week, all year long. When needed, we have BC, CM and CC senior advisors and specialist practitioners on stand-by, ready to engage with your team and support their efforts to get your company through a disruptive event. A force multiplier.
CO:RE is ideal for mid-tier businesses in any industry who want to build corporate resilience.
CO:RE integrates the principal elements of each discipline: process and operations risk assessment; analysis, strategy development and action/workstream creation; scenario planning and stakeholder management approaches, response planning and playbook development, and training exercises; into a holistic corporate resilience program that addresses both long-term operational continuity and all-hazards response and recovery. In addition, the CO:RE service includes 24/7 use of WOB’s existing Watch Center, its trained watch standers and a pool of senior advisors and resilience practitioners that form real-time event response support for your company.
CO:RE is tailored to the needs, operational model, and culture of your business, and is scaled to provide support at an affordable cost for mid-tier businesses. CO:RE delivers a combination of preparedness, 24/7 response support, and ongoing training to strengthen your executive team, safeguard your employees, and enhances stakeholder confidence. CO:RE deliverables include:
- Resilience Playbook with proven, best practices-based content tailored to your business
- Comprehensive training to ensure familiarity with resilience practices and how to use the Playbook
- Real events used to enhance playbook content
- Tabletop exercises refresh Playbook with scenarios
- Ongoing training removes stumbling blocks typically encountered by new resilience programs
- Dedicated CO:RE resilience team to help coordinate incident response
- Chief of Staff to drive process and organize management
- Communications experts coach your leadership
- CO:RE resilience practitioners from CM, BC, and CC can become part of your team, as you deem necessary
- 24/7 response support
- A unique dedicated 800-support hotline supported by WOB’s existing Watch Center and trained watch standers
Typically, and being somewhat dependent on your team’s schedule, availability and desired pace they want to implement within, your playbook will be developed, tailored and in place within three months. We also set up your unique 800# hotline within this timeframe and develop supporting protocols with our watch standers within our Watch Center – so they are ready to receive calls and help put your response in place with your assigned WOB Resilience Leads/Project Team.
Your senior leaders would also have participated in our ‘playbook walkthrough’ training that familiarizes each leader with the content, flow and usability of the playbook itself, around that timeframe. To accomplish this, we take a thoughtful approach to how we use your team’s time and follow a structured project plan to move through our proprietary development process. After the playbook is in place and it has been socialized with your leaders for familiarity, we follow up staff development through ‘stumbling block’ training in the next quarter or two – to address common stumbling blocks that impede new resilience team’s success.
Training concludes with an annual exercise that allows your team to practice their real time roles and responsibilities ahead of an event. Plan hosting and maintenance is also provided throughout the year – to enable a backup storage location for your playbook, in addition to where you maintain it on your systems. Beyond these preparation activities, you gain access to WOB’s pool of senior advisors and resilience practitioners that are prepared to fill support roles and join your team during actual events. These support roles include Senior Advisors in CM, BC, and/or CC, seasoned mixed-level Practitioners across the resilience disciplines, as well as Chief-of-Staff types, scribes, etc.
CO:RE is far more relevant and a better value than alternatives which tend to be either overly complex and expensive with far more layers than you need, or too narrowly focused, lacking the necessary breadth of support. CO:RE takes a balanced approach that is founded in resilience best practices, but we strip away non-essential elements and break down the tools into useful, actionable checklists and create a playbook that is tailored to your company’s organizational structure, culture and unique risk profile. We do not bring in unnecessary staff but can quickly tap into talent who can hit the ground running, fill resource gaps and then cycle out. Further, no other firm offers a similar comprehensive, tailored corporate resilience service with live event response support.
That has been the case, until now. We designed CO:RE to specifically meet the needs and budgets of mid-tier businesses.
They can be if you are engaging large firms that typically serve large complex enterprise clients. CO:RE is designed to help mid-tier businesses build best-in-class corporate resilience capability at an affordable cost.
CO:RE is designed to build your company’s Resilience IQ by making your leaders and teams smarter about BC, CM, and CC, and more organized and efficient when you must apply that knowledge to an actual disruptive event. Because we create a tailored set of BC/CM/CC tools that comprise your Playbook, there is a need for company leadership and in house functional experts to participate in the initial playbook development. There are check points throughout the playbook development process to ensure we are getting the right inputs and importantly creating a sense of ownership of the final product. Throughout the engagement, key team members will participate in training and crisis simulation exercises to master using the Playbook. It is an effective use of your staff’s time because your response and recovery processes and protocols will be correct and familiar – and easier to implement efficiently.
It may make sense to have a dedicated in-house CR manager, but it is unlikely that you will be able to find one person with the expertise to cover all three of the resilience disciplines effectively. With CO:RE you get access to highly experienced, senior-level BC, CM and CC professionals. Our team not only builds best-in-class tools, but they are always available to offer expert counsel and oversight to make sure your plans are being implemented appropriately.
CC is a complex, multi-layered and fluid discipline that requires rigorous preparation and precision execution. Most organizations only communicate during the crisis event, without the benefit of a well-articulated strategy and communications protocols that determine roles, actions, audiences’ messages and timing. The consequences are predictably poor: confusion, indecision, delays, sloppy execution and weak messaging. The outcomes are equally bad: public frustration and mistrust, criticism by pundits and public leaders and skewering by social media platforms and traditional media. Today’s hyperdrive digital information and misinformation culture makes it more critical to have a finely tuned, mature crisis communications expert in place before, during and after an event.
CO:RE is tailored to the needs, operational model, and culture of your business, and is scaled to provide support for an affordable cost. Unlike off-the-shelf, templated plans that break down when a real incident occurs, CO:RE features a customized Playbook, training, strategic counsel and 24/7 support that creates a formidable defensive capacity within your business to ensure you can withstand any crisis and emerge stronger.
Resilience programs typically fail for two reasons: the company loses focus and fails to adapt/update their resilience plans and tools, and these become obsolete and ultimately abandoned; or all the institutional knowledge of how to stand up and maintain a resilience function lies on one or a few staff members, and leaves when they leave. CO:RE solves both problems. You have a trusted expert partner helping you keep your resilience program fresh and agile, and at the same time is continually developing resilience planning and implementation skills among your teams. Further, should you have a temporary gap in in-house expertise, your CO:RE team can help cover that gap until teams can be fully trained.
WHY Witt O’Brien’s?
In short, because mid-tiers businesses need the ability to prepare for and respond to crisis events – and they should be able to get it at a reasonable cost. Successful planning, along with clear, effective communications can result in a quicker, and stronger recovery, while minimizing disruption and increasing strength. Achieving this level of resilience has often meant building a large in-house corporate resilience function or outsourcing it to a consultancy. Both are expensive options. CO:RE provides a new, attractive alternative: affordable comprehensive, best-practices based corporate resiliency service designed for mid-tier businesses.
At a higher level, we created CO:RE because we are passionate about resilience. It is at the core of who we are and what we do as a company. Resilience is the spearhead of our corporate practice, and we thread it through all our support programs: business continuity, crisis management, crisis communications, emergency response and disaster recovery.
We are a multi-disciplinary firm with deep-seated expertise in BC, CM, CC. With CO:RE, not only do you get dedicated, functionally trained practitioners in all three resilience disciplines under one roof, you get the benefit of our in-house Watch Center (or Command Center) capability for 24/7 support. Further, we are not resilience theorists. Our experts do this every day working with public and private clients of all sizes worldwide.
We have decades of experience across public and private sectors and have worked with clients in practically every industry. While CO:RE embodies universal BC/CM/CC best practices and proven tools, everything we do is tailored to your unique business needs, culture and risk profile.
Through our years in the crisis response business, we have mastered rapid and efficient development and deployment. We know how to tailor programs to a business need with minimal overhead and zero resource waste. Our resilience methodology has been applied and fine-tuned over the years and has been foundational to our clients’ success. And we know how to scale every aspect of our service to the size of both the organization and the challenge.
Your CO:RE team will not lead your crisis response but will help drive the process and will always be available to advise and provide expert skillsets to support you.
In the initial Playbook development and training stages, many of your CO:RE team members will work closely with company leadership and functional leaders. We can also bring in functional experts at any time to fine tune processes and serve as extensions of your teams. We are also ready to deploy and work shoulder-to-shoulder with your team in case of a real event.
Yes. CO:RE is designed to build your company’s Resilience IQ by making your leaders and teams smarter about BC/CM/CC, and more organized and efficient when they do have to apply that knowledge. Throughout the engagement, key team members will participate in training and crisis simulation exercises to master using the Playbook. Over time, as you go through the resilience planning and development process, your organization will mature and become better equipped to respond effectively when an event actually happens.
Your CO:RE team will be tailored to your need and risk profile, and will comprise the following roles:
- A “chief of staff” who serves as your process driver, organizing information, processes and implementation owners throughout the company.
- A CC expert who will help craft your stakeholder communication strategy and protocols, build your core messaging and serve as an in-event advisor to help guide response decisions.
- BC and CM senior advisors that will help build those areas of the playbook, conduct training and can be deployed in real time based on the nature of the event.
- Industry and other functional specialists from Witt O’Brien’s deep bench of experts based on event -specific requirements.
- A “scribe” who will continually capture, interpret and synthesize information to help build and update the Playbook and identify/resolve information gaps among resilience groups.