bcp business continuity plan covid19 employee engagement innovation new normal productivity work from home
Have you revisited your BCP yet?
The need for robust business continuity planning (BCP) cannot be more relevant than in the face of the COVID pandemic that has caught many organisations by surprise. Among other scenarios that call for BCP, businesses around the globe now need to adequately prepare for the possibility of a pandemic striking and adopt standards to deliver their services without disruption while ensuring there is no dip in customer satisfaction.
Long-established practices of BCP have lacked diversified views and focused much on IT and Infrastructure, ignoring the need for different aspects such as scenario planning, restructuring, employee engagement, and managing risk, which during implementation falls short of the business need. In this blog, let us discover the different factors which are relevant for a robust business continuity plan, which is in demand more than ever covering all aspects of the business and leverage existing best practices in different industries.
Outlook on uncertainty and risk:
Risk occurrence and their impact are identified based on the “known” aspect of occurrence (Example: Flood during winter season) and their impact (Ex: Roads are not accessible during floods).
When either the occurrence or impact of a risk is known, it is easy to prepare a course of action. When both aspects are “Unknown.” it is difficult for planning and mitigation.
Factors in New Business Continuity Planning:
The business needs to have diversified coverage of aspects that come under business continuity plan purview and plan for different scenarios. Key areas would be as follows:
- Macro situation planning
- Cash flow forecast
- Restructure operating style
- People engagement, health and wellness
- Managing relationship and communication
- Redesign the business process
- Productivity management
1. Macro situation planning:
Situations can keep on changing, and the critical mitigation is flexibility and adaptability. Planning for the worst outcome provides you with the opportunity to adjust and design if the situation recovers. Some of the scenarios could be customers asking for reduced pricing, delay in closing the deal with potential customers.
2. Cash flow forecast:
It is also essential to take stock of the current situation and come up with a revised plan to reduce on-going capital expenditure and operational expenditure, and this provides flexibility for the business to keep afloat for a more extended period. The challenges a company could face is a delay in collecting receivables and need to offer a discount for new services, so creating a new budget based on the current forecast can come in handy.
3. Restructure operating style:
The business has to align with working models such as “work from home,” ensuring minimum staff presence in the office, and more virtual interaction, and this would require adjustment to the current operating style. For example, B2B companies need to concentrate on their IT infrastructure and quality management, finance team and HR activities would interact and work seamlessly.
4. People’s engagement, health, and wellness:
Fear of the pandemic can also affect the employees to focus on work. Along with that, Loneliness, lack of co-workers, a professional environment, and lack of focus are some of the factors that affect the employees. According to a study, “a lack of collaboration, loneliness, and motivation are challenges for those who work remotely.” Hence ensuring employees engaged through periodic fun activities, wellness sessions can rejuvenate them. Ensure they follow a healthy routine and sustainable in the long term.
5. Managing relationship and communication:
company and business are doing in the period of crisis. It brings empathy towards the company. Be transparent to the vendor, and those contracted parties about the exact scenario of the company make them understand the situation. An open conversation on the current situation and its impact on your business with your entire leadership team is the first step towards achieving a larger goal.
6. Redesign the business process:
Educating employees on cybersecurity challenges also plays an important role. Bringing awareness among them about the ways of how the data are compromised in such an environment is necessary. Running a campaign on how to keep their work station secured will help in maintaining the employees aware of the situation.
7. Productivity management:
It is natural for team members to lose track of time and keep on working during work from home. Hence ensuring some of the best practices such as having regular periodic report calls, keeping them scheduled, making time for employee engagement, and reminding on work/life balance goes a long way in ensuring they work effectively.
Testing the BCP Plan:
Once the BCP is all framed, It is important to test and verify them. This review can be conducted on a regular basis, like annually or half-yearly. Testing can be done with the key persons from management and managers and discuss how and which area the plan can be strengthened. Keeping this testing conducted regularly makes the new managers or key persons learn the BCP plan and bring in new ideas to it. This makes them well trained and when the real scenario arises they can act faster to it.
This pandemic has forced everyone to explore the unknown, experiment with newer ways and methods and handle the ups and downs. While we put up a brave front to our external customers, we also have to lead and motivate our employees. It is the organization’s responsibility to show that we are in this together.
We are undoubtedly going to get through this crisis and will come out stronger. In the meantime, we need to keep our employees focused on short/ long term goals, guide them to leverage technology to anticipate and overcome hurdles and adapt to this new normal that is here to stay for the most of 2020, at least.