Rethinking Corporate Response to Social Unrest

There has been a significant increase in global social unrest in the last two years, which is expected to remain a security consideration for companies globally. A combination of factors influence this, from social economic issues like tax policy or food prices, to political matters, government legitimacy and the threat of climate change. These matters, coupled with the social pressures and varied regulations stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, mean many organisations are now focused on operational continuity and resilience. Establishing corporate response plans is crucial in the heightened possibility of social unrest.

To prepare businesses for the possibility of civil disobedience, we advise the following:

Identify best and worst case scenarios:
Consider different scenarios using risk assessments to drive scenario planning. Map risks against key assets or operations to drive prioritisation of resources where they are needed most.

Monitor sensitivities, where you do business:
Understand the potential threats that social unrest could pose to your people and operation. Identify and implement measures to mitigate impact by tracking and measuring to ensure relevance over time.

Listen to your workforce:
Companies cannot approach monitoring solely to inform employees for their own safety. Employees must also have a method of reporting to achieve complete organisational awareness. Implementing reporting within a workforce ensures key stakeholders can achieve valuable visibility and ‘ground truth’ into developing situations.

Develop a communication strategy:
Along with indicators for monitoring potential unrest, a comms strategy is essential for communicating in a coordinated manner. Emergency alerts, mass communications tools, email, SMS messaging, public address systems, call trees and filtered messaging are all effective solutions.

Test your tools:
Companies often focus on the rollout of new tech to demonstrate their strengths, with much less consideration towards its maintenance. Regular testing of mass notification tools will familiarise key stakeholders on how to use them and what to expect. Not knowing when, how or where unrest may break out means employee understanding and buy-in is crucial.

Guide and train your workforce:
Planning for social unrest requires awareness campaigns and training to reinforce crisis management protocol. Regular reminders to employees regarding relevant policies, code of conduct, and the emergency process will ensure staff are aware of protocols should a crisis occur. Employees should receive training to escalate, who to escalate important information to and how emergency communication works in a crisis.

Corporate entities can proactively manage the risks they are exposed to and mitigate the impact when unforeseen incidents occur. Risk assessments, scenario planning, crisis communications strategies will enable businesses to successfully navigate a way forward. Priavo offers a full range of crisis management solutions to safeguard employees and businesses: click here. Our incident management platform, Locate Global, gives organisations the tools to locate, communicate and respond to their workforce globally: