When the 2017 Borough Market incidents occurred in London near the eg+ office, their staff were impacted:
“Although the incident happened over a weekend, when everyone came in to work on Monday there was a cordon in place and we had no way to quickly contact everyone to let them know what was going on - other than initiating our full business continuity plan (BCT) which was time consuming and meant heads of departments would be required to spend time on a phone cascade.” – Anna Beynon, HR Manager at eg+ London.
The HR team began looking for a solution to help them communicate with and account for all employees. If an incident occurred during the week, there were concerns around how quickly they would be able to contact everyone. They learnt that their employee directory tool, Names & Faces, offered a Safety Check option and decided to adopt it.
When they first got the app they did a test in a company meeting and asked people to mark themselves as safe. They choose to send notifications to app, email, and mobile to ensure people get a notification through at least one of the avenues. They train new hires about Names & Faces and Safety Check during onboarding and also regularly check and update their business continuity plan.
This preparation stood them in good stead when the time came to activate Safety Check:
"We had quite a few employees in restaurants and bars closer to London Bridge. Having this tool meant we could reach out to all of our employees, no matter where they were or what they were doing at the time, to check they were safe. So it was absolutely invaluable.”
Two of the eg+ team – Anna Beynon and Jennifer Challenger – were the designated Safety Check offers. While Jennifer ended up barricaded in a restaurant, Anna was actually having a day off but by chance was near London Bridge at the time of the incident. As she was evacuated from the tube, she activated Safety Check on her mobile:
“The app was super easy to use – I literally did it as I was running out of London Bridge getting evacuated. It’s easy to launch and easy for people to mark themselves as safe and I sent live reports to members of my team during the check so they could follow up on anyone outstanding.”
After 25 minutes, 99% of the 154 employees had been marked as safe. Ninety eight employees marked themselves as safe and the remainder were marked safe by Anna and Jennifer as they did a walk-through the office and then follow up with just the individuals they couldn’t see:
“If there was anyone we couldn’t see or hadn’t marked themselves as safe, we knew that they were the people we needed to check up on. Having the app really shortened the list of people we had to contact and that was why the response rate was so quick.”
“To have it there – it’s peace of mind for my team. We’ve got if we need it and we don’t have to stress about contacting people.
Even if it’s something like water or electricity in the building being cut off – so not a disaster - we can use it as a one-communication tool to send everyone a text. It’s easy. We can just pick up our phones and send out an alert”.