Call Tree Drills

Call Tree Drills

When testing your business continuity and emergency/incident management protocols, one key component is your internal notification procedures. In this blog we will lay out a process to plan, execute and measure a call tree drill.

Planning:

  • The business continuity team should conduct a call tree activation drill at least once per year.
  • Select a date/time for the drill to be conducted.
  • Consider if during hours or after hours are the best times to conduct the drill based on factors including
  • Size of staff
  • Probability of when a real life activation is most likely to occur
  • Logistics challenges
  • After hours drills are more likely to identify points of failure so may be a more effective drill.
  • Consider notifying employees to prepare for a drill within a weeks timeframe but do not provide details on when it will occur. In real life, we do not know when an emergency will occur.
  • This is a good opportunity to advise employees to ensure their contact information on file is up to date.
  • Business continuity team should concur on the content of the message, making sure to include a clear statement that this is a DRILL
  • Determine what results should be tracked and who should be tracking them.
  • Advise employees to reply to or email a central mailbox?
  • With text messages, can you provide employees with the option to press a digit to confirm receipt?
  • Have managers/supervisors track who they were able to contact or not?

Executing:

At the appointed time, initiate the call drill with instruction to escalate failures, challenges or comments back to the business continuity team or the person directing the drill.

Assign someone with the task to document each stage and any challenges encountered.

Upon the completion of the drill, the business continuity team should e notified that the drill has now been concluded.

Measuring:

The business continuity team should collect all data, comments and documentation into a full report and analysis for distribution to the business continuity team and leadership.

A key outcome of this report will be to note any single points of failure, opportunities for improvement and recommended actions. These recommended actions should be reviewed for approval by business continuity leadership and approved actions assigned to the appropriate resources.

Approved actions should also be added to the overall business continuity management plan/project/program for review and status updates at the recurring business continuity team forum meetings.