Richard Long, Senior Advisory Consultant, MHA Consulting
Who is the most important person in an organization? I was thinking about this when conducting some Business Impact Analysis interviews recently. I asked some of the people during the interviews what they thought. Some of the answers: CEO, COO, “me,” “no one – everyone is important,” sales people, operations, etc. A position that never came up, but should arguably be included, is the administrative assistant. During the BIA process, I spoke with the admins/office managers at several locations and they all had insights that no one else provided. There was knowledge of both defined and actual organizational procedures, and how processes actually were performed vs. how they were “supposed” to be performed.
As you consider how to ensure that various BCP documents are created or updated, work to include the administrative assistants or other support individuals in these activities. They are often an underutilized group as it relates to business functions. When I had management responsibilities, the admin assigned to me kept me on track with those tasks that were most important or needed to be completed. Without this individual I would not have been nearly as successful.
Here are some of the ways to use these important and knowledgeable people:
- Ask the individuals they support for permission to use them.
- Have them develop draft documentation – they know more than you think.
- Ask them to assist with getting the team to complete their updates/tasks. You’d be amazed how much influence and urgency they can provide.
- Ask them who to contact when issues arise and you are not sure who can help.
- Include them in the Crisis Management Team in communication, logistics, or other support type roles. They are typically among the best in the organization with these skills.
- Include them in assessments and information gathering.
- Include them in the Crisis Plan and Communication Plan development. They know who to contact, the best methods to use, and when those individuals want/need to be informed.
Administrative Professionals have a tremendous amount of information and knowledge. They can make your job easier and help you get the BCP tasks completed.