Recovering from Civil Unrest & Incursions

Russia and Ukraine aftermath

Recovering from civil unrest & incursions is a daunting task. As I’m writing this, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia is ongoing. No one knows what direction this event will take, which has stunned the world. It is a lesson for resilience practitioners to create a program framework nimble enough to withstand any shocks an organization can endure from reputational, operational, cyber, technology, regulatory, or natural disaster events. 

If you missed my resilience series, I urge you to go back and start with the first Road to Resilience blog. Regardless of when the Russian-Ukraine war ends, many of us will review lessons learned and incorporate actionable items into our future planning. Taking this approach is an appropriate next step, but it is also good to consider the near-term procedures from your resilience plan. Then, consider what will be required to support employees, operations, and assets post-event.

Ukrainians Going to Work

Employee duty to care and support

Once the crisis passes, damage mitigated, and impacts understood, the recovery phase begins. It is not always straightforward, and the two phases can overlap. That happened to me all of the time working in emergency management. A sustainable resilience plan does not end with crisis response but continues through the organization’s restoration. Just as the world will go through a recovery period after COVID, Ukraine will pick itself back up and rebuild after the fighting ceases. 

Regardless of your personal beliefs, how easily the country bounces back will be dependent on its people, along with the outcome of the war. People are at the heart of planning. If you lose sight of providing for the well-being and safety of your employees, all the planning in the world is worthless. The company shares HR policy changes, benefits, and flexibility in time-off to recuperate. Effective crisis communications planning lays out how to support employees through restoration. Employee relations should teach managers about appropriate workforce flexibility. Overall, taking a duty to care approach is highly recommended. 

Ukraine Back to Normal

Operational recovery and restoration

Often, the recovery phase lasts longer than the incident itself. A practitioner’s goal is to limit damage and rebuild as quickly as possible regarding operational resilience. Combining the pillars of company objectives, leadership, culture, governance, systems, and services will enable a 360 framework that enables plasticity. So, when the organization aligns along a continuum striving for continuous delivery of vital services, you build a protective structure.

Your resilience program ensures the company is adaptable, understands its role in crisis recovery, and can confidently move forward with business as usual. Recovering from civil unrest & incursions is especially difficult due to the highly charged emotional nature and physical toll that people experience. I highly recommend checking out Steve Crimando’s webinar, Preparing for a New Era of Civil Unrest: A Guide to Safety and Security. Besides preventative procedures, critical plan elements include adding post-crisis planning that speaks to how to assist employees, enable operation restoration, and restore asset damage.

Ukraine IT Vendor Resumption

Vendor recovery and renewal

If the recovery from civil unrest & incursions includes working with or impacting your vendors, it is good to debrief with them soon afterward. Gathering insight into how response processes are executed and documenting lessons learned is crucial to increasing process efficiencies post-event. The importance of identifying workaround strategies for recovery is standard practice for business continuity plans. However, it makes sense to go a step further for resilience organizations. 

I suggest installing a robust vendor management program before incidents occur. Also, exercising with your vendor is highly beneficial to address gaps and create muscle memory for a joint response. Brainstorm through scenarios with critical third parties of how they would overcome risks. Then, bring those learning back to the organization and exercise worst-case scenarios. Finally, make provisions for working alongside the vendor whenever possible to show care, concern, and flexibility for their recovery. You want to maintain a good working relationship, especially in today’s workplaces where contractors work synergistically with your employees.

Ukrainian Recovery

Technology & cyber attack restoration

Impacts on IT infrastructure carry significant risk. Major service organizations understand their reliance on IT networks, systems, servers, software, and hardware in the post-pandemic world. The list can go on, and I am not a technology nerd, covering some fundamentals. A significant challenge to recovery is the destruction or outages to power, network, and cyber attacks.

As with vendors, discuss opportunities to minimize disruption, including triggers for shifting work back in-house and alternative partners. You want to maintain a good working relationship, especially in today’s workplaces where contractors work synergistically with your employees. IT’s goal is to enable intelligent business operations. Robust Disaster Recovery (DR) planning and incident teams support this effort. DR plans come into play to react to a specific scenario, then operational procedures to restore affected assets. 

Lessons Learned from history

Recovery challenges and opportunities

We just scratched the surface of building resilience into business recovery efforts. Yet, these concepts outline key steps for restoration. Organizational stability aims to shorten recovery time and reduce incurred damage. Establishing a coordinated approach aids efforts in the restoration phase. Much of this comes from identifying risk and relentlessly testing the org to mitigate impacts.

But I digress. Regardless, recovery is never an easy phase. Any business adopting resilience attributes better positions itself to adapt to calamities. Actual events constantly test the proof of preparedness. I hope that your business passes those tests time and again. Our Ukrainian colleagues are likely facing the most crucial trial of their lifetimes. So far, they are the epitome of resilience and adaptability, an inspirational lesson for us all. I do not think I am alone in hoping for a speedy resolution to the conflict so that the task of rebuilding can commence. 

If you missed the first two blogs in this series, check out Preparing For Civil Unrest & Incursions and Responding To Civil Unrest & Incursions

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