Many modern corporations have instituted a management training program full of bright young college graduates that circulate through various departments to gain experience and operational knowledge in preparation for their careers. They usually have some choice in determining which departments they intern with. The question for today is: how do you attract them to your Business Continuity Program (BCP) as one of their assignments? Since you asked, here is how I have done it several times in my own career.
Sell the BCP Function. It’s vital that you sell them on the importance of what you do. They will probably never have been exposed to the business continuity discipline, but they all live technology-dependent lives. They’ve all experienced broken cell phones, laptops on the fritz, and application problems. What the BCP deals with is all that, and more, writ large. It will be easy for you to explain that the BCP is the guardian of the availability of essential corporate resources and you’re the ones who figure out what do to in the face of unexpected outages. Having experienced technology failings in their own lives, they will quickly grasp the importance of preserving access to the tools and data the company depends upon to continue mission critical functions.
Sell the BCP View. The Program touches all aspects of operations, administration, and facilities in ways few other departments do. Because of the broad corporate-wide scope they will have an in depth view into all the corporation’s essential activities and assets. By being involved in the Business Impact Analysis (BIA) for a business function they will learn all about the department’s mission critical activities and will understand how it relates to information systems and other departments. By being involved in the development of business continuity and disaster recovery planning they will have a ringside seat in watching the areas struggle with how they will continue those functions in the face of unexpected outages. Because the BCP addresses issues in all areas, they will have a wonderful opportunity to acquire firsthand knowledge of so much more than they would by sitting in a cubicle in some other department. (The BCP is, in fact, a step ladder in the cubicle farm.) They can also use the assignment to scope out where they want to land next. By then, they will have had a chance to meet the department management and gained the ability to take a lot of the guesswork out of whether they would like to intern there or not.
Sell the Management Exposure. Because of the important issues BCP deals with, they will have the opportunity to attend meetings with senior management across the organization. I often prepped my trainees for speaking and writing roles that gave them the kind of exposure interning in Accounting never would have done. I told them that shining in BCP could do wonders for their future careers. When their interning days are over, they will have had direct contact with the corporate decision makers and can approach them with a pitch to join their team, rather than cold calling.
Conclusion. BCP managers rarely tap the wealth of talent that resides in the management training pool, to their loss, I believe. By attracting great talent, treating them well, and giving them the view and exposure that will help them in their future careers, you will have a great resource to use for a while. You will also be making allies for the future who understand the importance of what you do. Who knows, the future CFO or HR Director may turn out to be one of your alumni down the road!
As always, leave comments and feel free to contact me directly. Happy selling!