How to engage staff in your disaster recovery program

by. Robin Remines

Power goes out – call IT. Storm approaching? Call IT. And while IT serves a critical role in virtually every credit union recovery effort, those credit unions with the highest rate of success during critical events have expanded their programs from Disaster Recovery (DR – aka Systems/Technology recovery) efforts to a distributed program embracing people, processes and technologies throughout the organization. So how did these CU leaders engage their staff to not only develop BCP plans but to also be actively pursuing ways to increase the effectiveness of these plans on a continuous basis?


Before you can expect eager BCP participants, you have ensure they know what the plan is. Does your staff know that you have a BCP? Have you communicated the difference between DR (IT) and BCP (organizational)? Do they know you have a Pandemic plan? What about those last two incidents you successfully recovered from? Communicating at every opportunity creates a highly visible BCP program to which your staff will naturally gravitate towards. Education creates knowledge, knowledge creates intelligence, and Intelligence generates understanding and a desire to know more. See the cycle?

Hit em’ in the “grass” roots

As credit unionists, your staff understands commitment to the membership and the communities they serve. They go the extra mile every day to provide convenient and reliable service. When you relate preparedness efforts (plan writing, procedure uploads, BIA workshops, tabletops, etc.) directly to your staff’s role as a critical infrastructure key resource (CIKR) – they dig deeper, stay later and test longer because that is what it means to be a credit unionist. The CIKR designation originated out of the Department of Homeland Security as a way to prioritize resources during a disaster. Financial institutions, including credit unions are considered to be an essential part of the “fabric of society” and restoration of these services helps to reduce panic and fear during times of crisis. Share this with your team and watch everyone sit a little taller.

continue reading »