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Tabletop Exercises impart a significant amount of information regarding communication, response, and recovery skills needed for various scenarios. These simulations can take time to complete, and not everyone will be required or be able to join. Organizations must assess what staff members will benefit most from these exercises and what potential roles they play if a real event should occur. Here are a few factors to consider when deciding who should participate in your next Tabletop Exercise:

1. Area of Impact

Organizations can choose from a variety of different scenarios for their Tabletop Exercise. These options will have different areas of impact within an organization and may therefore involve different people. For example, a cyberattack or data loss simulation might not need participants from the sales department, but it would be essential for IT personnel. Pandemic or natural disaster scenarios, on the other hand, can affect everyone, making it essential to have a variety of representatives present.

Leaders must consider what type of Tabletop Exercise they will hold and who would be impacted most by the chosen scenario. This will help narrow down the most important participants for the particular exercise and help create goals around what skills these individuals need to improve.

The chain of command can change within a given scenario.
The chain of command can change within a given scenario.

2. Chain of Command

When a problem appears, who is responsible for handling it? The chain of command is essential for giving direction during emergency situations and solving issues effectively. However, what if an event occurs that breaks this level of control? Mass illness might keep a senior leader from work, for example. In this case, who takes over in their place and how does he or she handle such adverse scenarios?

In the event of illness, death, or injury, there must be designated people who can capably rise to the top of the chain of command and make decisions. Including a variety of participants from stakeholders to regular staff will help reduce conflict while addressing any knowledge gaps. Staff members must be trained to help them understand how their decisions might impact operations and what communication, response, and recovery skills they need to work on.

3. Business Continuity Plan Enforcer

"Anyone responsible for the BCP should participate in all Tabletop Exercises."

Many organizations delegate one staff member or a small group to create, communicate and enforce the business continuity plan. While many employees understand that the BCP exists, they might not know what policies it includes. Tabletop Exercises are critical for demonstrating staff knowledge of the BCP, how well they can carry it out and if it's even effective. The person or group responsible for the BCP should participate in all Tabletop Exercises to identify holes in the strategy and what additional training might be required.

Tabletop Exercise scenarios might not be required for everyone, but there are certainly a few considerations to narrow down who should participate. Organizations should identify what areas are affected by the scenario, chain of command changes that might occur, and who enforces the BCP. Contact Attainium today to learn more about our Tabletop Exercises and how they can be utilized to benefit your business continuity efforts.

Tabletop Exercises can involve a variety of participants.
Tabletop Exercises can and should) involve a variety of participants.

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