Crisis and risk management goes beyond just making and having a plan on hand; it requires proper follow up, testing and regular maintenance. A plan is only effective if and when it is updated, tested and disseminated across relevant stakeholders and parties.
Testing your crisis and/ or risk management plan or strategy will help you in a number of ways. Firstly, it will help you see how practical the plan is and how it will actually hold up in the event of a crisis. This avoids a theoretic plan with holes or issues that may only be visible once the plan is executed. Testing the plan also simultaneously tests people’s awareness of this plan and their understanding of how it functions/ is executed as well as their role in the execution of the plan.
There are a number of ways you can test your risk management plan:
- Paper Based exercises:
draw up a series of scenarios that could arise and provide them to employees and/ or stakeholders to describe the execution and impact of the plan on each or all of the scenarios.
- Test Drills:
much like fire drills, it is becoming more common to test other crisis or emergency situations too. Earthquakes, lock downs, IT failures, all things that can be simulated to test the way your plan’s execution and functionality.
Instead of surprise drills, you could also have staff or relevant parties act the plan out knowingly.
Remember that after you test your plan, to identify any areas of improvement and update these accordingly. The plan should also be updated as your organization evolves, changes, grows, shrinks or changes. It should be a priority to be visited and updated annually, or at a frequency that makes sense for your organization and the risks outlined in the plan/strategy.