When we think of disasters that could interrupt the day-to-day function of business, earthquakes, floods, pandemics and cyber attacks commonly come to mind. However there is one business risk that is often overlooked, the Zombie Apocalypse. The risk the Zombie Apocalypse presents to disrupting business operations is woefully underappreciated. Certainly we know that an attack by zombies would result in loss of life, but its potential effect on business operations should not be ignored. Imagine the economic losses incurred when your supply chain is interrupted because the warehouses in Thailand that manufacture your product have been overrun by hundreds of reanimated corpses? Or perhaps the public relations reputational risk resulting from your CEO-turned-zombie eating the brains of a valued client? These are things that are simply not planned for in today’s business climate.
One of the best things you can do to protect your business in the event of an undead infestation is to put a sound Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place. The BCP is a contingency plan on how to plan for and respond to a crisis. The following is a step-by-step plan.
1. Risk Assessment.
Is your place of business located in a danger zone? A nuclear power plant or other site with a history of radiation? Does it seem to be a breeding ground for highly communicable, unexplained viruses (or near a pre-school facility)? If you hear the term “solanum” uttered, evacuate the vicinity immediately. If any of the above scenarios apply, you may want to consider moving your brick and mortar operation to a less risky area or take your business virtual.
2. Crisis Management Plan.
In the event that an outbreak does occur, you’ll want to have an emergency response plan in place allowing you to quickly respond to and manage the crisis in order to prevent further escalation. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has written a helpful post on preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse that includes advice on first aid kits, access to potable water and creating an evacuation plan. For those who like gear and have more money than sense, you can buy yourself the ultimate Zombie Apocalypse kit for the low, low price of $24,000. For the more fiscally conservative consumer, there is a kit from Gerber Gear for $349.
Any BCP should also include a crisis communications plan. It will be important in the first days and weeks following the downfall of human civilization to keep employees and customers informed. Conventionally this could be done by establishing a crisis hotline, a website or phone tree. However, in the Apocalypse phone and internet service will likely be wiped out, so you may want to invest in carrier pigeons or learn how to create smoke signals.
3. Business Recovery.
Once the immediate crisis is over, you’ll need to implement a plan to restore critical business and support functions as soon as possible. Work with disaster recovery teams you have established and outside vendors (preferably those with non-zombie status) to get operations back to normal.
4. Plan Testing.
Now that you have your plan in place, it is important to periodically test it. Have your HR department create a variety of zombie-related scenarios for employees to test their skills, identify plan gaps and rehearse team roles & responsibilities.
Lastly, as in any business, it is important to stay nimble. If the zombie population is outnumbering the living, it may be time to change your business model. Artisanal Brain cupcakes? Organic and locally sourced. You’re welcome.