Robert NoonanIn the leadup to Continuity Insights New York, October 29-30, 2012 at The Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City, Continuity Insights asks presenters about their chosen topics, critical business continuity skills, how prepared we can be, and what they would name their band. This week Robert Noonan, Managing Director for Business Continuity at Société Générale Corporate Investment Bank, discusses the steps organizations should take to address workplace violence, active shooter events and the more common types of workplace violence.

Continuity Insights: The recent shootings in Aurora, CO and elsewhere have sparked debate about how organizations can prevent and best respond to active shooter events. For example, in Houston the DHS produced a video that teaches employees to run, hide or fight. How can business continuity professionals best prepare their organizations for these events without causing employees to be scared?

Robert Noonan: Any firm would benefit from a focus on workplace violence, including the active shooter scenario, starting with:

  1. A review of the topic with senior management (strong crisis team is key) in order to understand the response protocols in place (if any) and how to improve on these to limit the impacts to staff and business operations.
  2. A series of training sessions for the response teams (Security, Facilities, Human Resources, etc.) to step through the response process.
  3. And finally an awareness program for the general staff body.

There are also some great examples from DHS of the type of prevention strategies a firm could employ to prevent violence in the workplace.

CI: Active shooter events are rare and extreme examples of workplace violence. What are some of the more common types of workplace violence and what impact can these events have on staff and operations.

RN: The most common type of workplace violence event is violence from personal relations at the workplace site (disgruntled partner, family member). Worker on worker violence is the second most common event type. Having a strong response protocol, good security and monitoring, and a culture of having a supportive and respectful workplace can limit these types of events.

Impacts to operations can be varied. Of course once an attack happens, many impacts are possible: everything from your workplace becoming a crime scene to worker trauma.

CI: Complete this sentence: To be a successful business continuity professional you must master the risk assessment, the BIA and ____________________.

RN: A great relationships with your business and determination to follow through!

CI: True or false: There are some things you simply cannot plan for, e.g. the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan last year.

RN: False

CI: If you formed a band with other business continuity professionals what would you call it?

RN: Continuum

For more information on Noonan's presentation, as well as the full agenda and registration details, visit the Continuity Insights New York website at