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Can social media help account for staff at time of crisis?

Organisations that deploy staff to work in high-threat environments will often use highly advanced (and expensive) technology to monitor and track their worker’s safety, but can it compete against the instant updates associated with social media?

For many larger organisations, an Emergency Notification System is a popular investment – a piece of software that sends messages to staff members and reports back to the organisation their current safety status. In theory, this should enable significant populations of staff to be contacted and their safety confirmed.

However, one client recently engaged Aldbury International to research why their expensive and sophisticated Emergency Notification System only managed to account for 12% of staff when a recent crisis occurred, leaving 88% unaccounted for.

The report highlighted a number of factors that contributed to the low levels of response, ranging from staff ignoring messages that they thought were spam, incomplete data relating to mobile phones, international dial codes and lack of familiarity of the system.

Interestingly, the review also highlighted one group that stood out, head and shoulders above the rest, by accounting for 100% of staff within 30 minutes. How had this been achieved? Simple, the entire group had social media accounts that were used to organise work related social activity, and all staff immediately up-dated their statuses when news of the crisis broke.

This raised the question, could social media replace emergency notification systems? The answer will depend on the size of group, budget and threat environment; but one key advantage that a social media based system has is that it is user defined, administered and tested on a daily basis. So, when the crisis hits the factors that often inhibit commercial systems are absent.

The optimum approach would appear to be a commercial emergency notification system that piggybacks off established social media networks - a challenge for the future perhaps.

If you need advice on how to properly manage a crisis within your organization, contact us on 01983 564917 or email to arrange your free consultation with one of our specialists.


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