Ensuring Operational Resilience Amidst Geopolitical Events

Posted on: October 12, 2023
Author: Bogdana Sardak

Blue and brown painted dome building interior - Fusion Risk ManagementIn an increasingly interconnected world, organizations with a global presence face a unique set of challenges when it comes to maintaining resilience during geopolitical events. These events – whether civil or political unrest, trade disputes, economic sanctions, pandemics, or natural disasters – can have far-reaching implications on an organization’s employees, business operations, vendors and supply chain, and customers. Due to their potential impact, there are a number of key considerations that organizations should keep top of mind during such events to ensure the safety of their staff and the resilience of their operations, including:

  1. Clear Communication and Employee Safety

During a geopolitical event, the safety and well-being of employees must be the top priority for any organization. Organizations should be sure to:

  • Establish effective communication channels to promptly notify employees of any potential risks or disruptions
  • Ensure that employees are aware of procedures to follow in case of emergency and have access to relevant contact information
  • Regularly update employees on the latest developments and provide guidance on safety measures

By prioritizing employee safety, organizations will foster greater trust and demonstrate a commitment to their workforce’s welfare.

  1. Crisis and Incident Response

Geopolitical events often necessitate the activation of emergency response and crisis response plans. Organizations should be sure to:

  • Have clear protocols in place for communication, evacuation and shelter-in-place orders, and coordination with local authorities and emergency services
  • Keep employees informed through reliable news sources and government updates to monitor the evolving situation, including communicating any security alerts, travel restrictions, or evacuation advisories
  • Enhance their security measures, review existing protocols, and provide safety briefings and resources to employees
  1. Comprehensive Impact Assessments

Conducting a thorough impact assessment is crucial in identifying vulnerabilities and potential impacts on people, operations, facilities, vendors, and customers. It is essential to understand the geopolitical landscape and the specific risks associated with each region where the organization operates. Assessing the potential consequences of political instability, trade disruptions, supply chain interruptions, or regulatory changes is vital. By establishing a strong foundation of information and utilizing it in response to current events and their impacts, organizations can expedite the process of incident response and implement effective recovery measures.

  1. Activation of Business Continuity Plans

Organizations should activate the business continuity plans that they have in place to minimize disruption to their operations. This may include moving operations to alternative workspaces, activating remote working capabilities, and ensuring the availability of essential services and supplies.

  1. Diverse Supplier and Vendor Networks

Geopolitical events can significantly impact supply chains, leading to delays or disruptions. During such disruptive events, it is crucial to utilize impact assessment data to understand the potential impact on critical vendors or supply chain providers. In the event that any critical vendors or supply chain providers are impacted, organizations should assess their status and proceed to activate predefined recovery strategies. If no such strategies exist, by working closely with the business, ad hoc recovery strategies can be created to minimize the impact on operations.

  1. Stakeholder Engagement and Relationship Management

Maintaining strong relationships with customers, despite geopolitical events, is crucial to organizational resilience. Organizations should be sure to:

  • Establish open and transparent lines of communication with customers to manage expectations and address any concerns
  • Proactively communicate potential impacts on delivery, services, or support
  • Work collaboratively to identify alternatives or contingency plans

By nurturing these relationships and prioritizing customer needs, organizations can maintain trust and minimize any negative consequences on their business.

  1. Coordination with Local Authorities

During geopolitical events, it is essential to coordinate with local authorities and security forces to share information, request support, and align response efforts. Collaboration with these entities ensures a coordinated and effective response, enhancing the organization’s ability to mitigate risks as well as protect its employees and operations.

  1. Employee Support

Considering employee well-being during times of crisis is vital. Organizations should provide counseling services, resources for mental health support, and assistance with necessary evacuations or repatriations. Supporting employees’ physical and emotional needs helps to maintain staff morale, productivity, and resilience.

Emerge Stronger in Times of Crisis

Geopolitical events have the potential to disrupt global organizations in numerous ways. Clear communication, comprehensive impact assessments, diverse supplier networks, robust business continuity planning, stakeholder engagement, crisis and incident response, coordination with local authorities, and employee support are all crucial elements for navigating geopolitical challenges successfully. By proactively implementing these strategies, organizations can not only safeguard their operations but also emerge stronger in the face of adversity.