Webinar Recap: New Survey Points to Emergency Communication Challenges in Organizations

Picture of Samantha Hoppe By Samantha Hoppe

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Webinar CoverA recent webinar revealed findings from our second annual survey on workplace safety and preparedness, including an increasing potential for emergency communication challenges in organizations. Over 500 full-time employees from various industries across the United States completed the 18-question survey, which uncovered interesting trends on workplace emergency plans, employees' perspective on safety and the current level of emergency communication efforts in place at workplaces today. 

Katharine Dahl, Rave's Senior Director of Product Marketing presented each of the four key findings throughout the webinar and provided detailed best practices to put into action for workplace emergency preparedness efforts.

Trend #1 Demonstrates a Shift Towards More Modern Workplace Emergencies

The original 2018 survey report found that many workplaces had a heavy emergency preparedness focus on fire drills and while the second annual survey found similar data, it showed slight improvements in awareness of more modern emergencies. 2019 data shows a growing awareness and testing of emergency plans. In comparison to 2018 data, there was a slight decrease in the number of employees who were unaware of their workplace's emergency plans for more modern situations such as active shooters. 

Top Three Emergency Plans Employees Are Most Unaware Of
 

2018

2019

% Change (Year over Year)

Active shooter

21%

18%

14%

Workplace Violence

19%

18%

5%

--Women who were unaware of workplace violence emergency plans, despite it being their second leading cause of death in the workplace

34%

37%

9%

Cyber attacks/ system outages

18%

20%

 

Katharine highlighted a startling fact from the National Safety Council that more than 2 million American workers report they were victims of a workplace violence incident and that many more cases go unreported. Although more workplaces are starting to increase their preparedness efforts around situations such as active shooter events, Katharine pointed out that workplaces should also consider workplace violence as another major incident to prepare for and offered a best practice to help with emergency preparedness efforts. 

Best Practice Tip: Plan communications ahead of an incident

Across your organization, there are many different ways to communicate and types of messages. Emergencies are the most common urgent communications to employees; however, several other timely messages such as a system outage are also quite common, especially as the data from the 2019 survey shows that  cyber attacks/system outages were one of the most common incidents experienced by employees within the last year. 

Katharine advised that organizations outline the potential time sensitive, business critical scenarios they might encounter as demonstrated on the slide below.

Time sensitive business critical scenarios

Once the landscape of potential emergency scenarios is known, Katharine says that organizations should put the following steps in place to ensure their emergency communication procedures are sufficient ahead of an emergency:

  1. Define what constitutes a routine, timely or urgent communication
  2. Define terms and use clear language
  3. Establish policies for the frequency and level of communication
  4. Have up-to-date contact information
  5. Leverage precreated messaging templates (like the ones featured in this nifty guide)
  6. Identify alternates and backup plans
  7. Don't forget to PPT: Practice, practice, test

Trend #2 Shows Mobile Communication Remains a Top Method for Critical Communications

Survey participants were asked about the current emergency communication methods in place at their workplaces as well as what they prefer. An overwhelming number of employees currently receive emails for emergency communications, but half of all respondents would prefer a mass text message.

2019WorkplaceWebinar_Slide2

In addition to preferred communication methods, Katharine narrowed in on the percentage of respondents who traveled at least 25% of more in their current role and are considered to be lone workers. She brought up a good point that in 2020, approximately 105 million mobile workers will be working in the U.S.

Best Practice Tip: Protect Lone/Traveling Workers

Katharine recommended that organizations provide a safety net to only worker in the office, but also those who are traveling or are working offsite. Katharine identified two key advances in technology that help provide that virtual safety net:

  • geopoll-2Location-based alerts: Organizations using a mass notification system can tap into features that allow alerts to be sent to a specific location so that only employees in affected areas can get the alert
  • Geo-poll responses: Similarly, an alert can be set up to include a question or require a response that can be categorized and aggregated into similar answers; Message delivery can also be tracked

Katharine suggests that organizations look into deploying real-time monitoring and communications so employees have the two-way communication and resources to get the help they need. 

Want to hear two additional key findings and best practices? Listen to the webinar recording here.

Don't forget to download the 2019 Workplace Safety and Preparedness Survey while you're here. 

2019 Workplace Safety and Preparedness Survey 

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Written by Samantha Hoppe

Sam Hoppe is Rave's Digital Marketing Specialist. She works closely with the Rave team on emails, blogs, and the website. Favorite topics include state and local government issues, emergency management, current events and feel-good stories. A New Jersey native turned Bostonian, you can find Sam exploring new bars and restaurants or enjoying live shows across the city.

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