The pandemic has sent shockwaves through global economies and disrupted businesses across the world. The ensuing economic crisis has forced businesses to reassess their business continuity models.
Traditionally, Business Continuity Planning (BCP) has been an overlooked subject which is now gaining increasing popularity and priority in the business world, thanks to the pandemic. They realized that they have to be prepared for any such disruptions in the future.
BCPs typically contain a checklist of supplies, equipment, data backups, etc. that allow the business to prepare for future disruptions. The plan should define key personnel who will carry out the plan - usually the business continuity manager.
BCPs are different from a disaster recovery plan, which focuses on the recovery of a company's IT system after a crisis. However, a disaster recovery plan is a key component of a BCP.
The three main aspects of a Business Continuity Plan are:
- Business prioritization: Involves risk assessment, business impact analysis, and business continuity program assessment, to identify risks and establish priorities.
- Integration into IT: Includes design of the Business Continuity Plan and the IT strategy.
- Manage: Implement and manage what has been assessed and designed.
BCPs have evolved over the years, especially with the pandemic. In some ways, a pandemic recovery plan is similar to a Business Continuity Plan.
This blog discusses the various ways in which an organization can strategize a plan to ensure business continuity in the post-pandemic world and in the event of any similar disruptions in the future.
Rethink BCP to Better Handle Future Disruptions
Traditionally, most Business Continuity Plans focus on what will happen if the building or equipment is damaged, in order to provide a seamless work environment for the employees when they return to the office.
But the pandemic has forced organizations all over the world to rethink their BCPs to create one that accounts for disruption at this scale. Companies have to take into consideration unfamiliar situations to the BCP to handle pandemic-related emergencies.
Enabling remote work must be included as an agenda in your BCP. It is also advisable to designate a pandemic planning team that can steer the organization in the case of an emergency.
This team should include an incident manager, a member from each critical business department such as human resources, procurement or supply chain, security, IT, legal, risk management, etc. Involve stakeholders and define clear roles and responsibilities for each member of the pandemic planning team.
To stay ahead, organizations have to create an action plan for the future that specifies how the critical services and functions of the company will be carried out in the case of an emergency, how remote employees will be supported to carry out business as usual, or something close to that.
Ensure That Your Workforce Can Adapt To Change
The workforce is the most valuable asset for any organization. Investing in a strong and flexible workforce that is able to adapt to changing conditions and environments will help the organization be well-equipped for any disruptions in the future. They must be prepared to carry out their day-to-day work in any setting, be it remote or in the office.
Of course, the organization's HR team will have to assist them during transitions. But the employees must be invested in the company's goals and be ready to make it work no matter what. Conduct team-building activities to create comradery and commitment among them.
Identify the number of staff and resources needed to maintain critical services or functions and ensure that the organization can afford them in the case of an emergency.
Develop a Remote Work Strategy
Remote work becomes crucial in the event of a pandemic where employees cannot be physically present at an office building. When the world was hit with the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders across the globe had to respond in real-time, enable remote work and create a roadmap for the future.
Organizations have to make sure that work goes on as usual and to achieve that, the employees must be given all the resources and assistance required to carry out their work.
The IT team needs to understand how user requests will differ in a work-from-home environment when compared to an office setting. Since a majority of employees work from home, IT will be over-burdened with support tickets for basic tasks. A Digital Adoption Platform can greatly reduce this number by providing assistance to employees at any point of need. But more about that later.
Another aspect that companies have to consider while their employees work remotely is ensuring security and process compliance. Employees working from home leave a huge security concern for organizations for obvious reasons. This can be tackled by following measures such as Deploying multi-factor authentication, mandating employees to connect over VPNs, migrating applications to the cloud, etc.
Facilitate Seamless Communication
When an unforeseen disruption occurs, communication with employees, shareholders, customers, and key personnel is critical. Be it remote or offline, for a workforce to function properly, strong communication channels and strategies must be established.
Communication is the key to helping your teams stay engaged with each other when a crisis unfolds and during the crucial recovery phase.
The Human resource team plays a crucial role in ensuring consistent and timely communication between the business recovery efforts and the workforce. HR must proactively communicate and manage remote work procedures and expectations. Understand that employees might have a learning curve for these new procedures.
Any changes in business processes or applications brought in as a part of the BCP must be communicated to employees before they are implemented. As for the customers, social media platforms have become a highly reliable medium to communicate updates about the business.
Embrace Innovative Technologies
As the pandemic sent a majority of employees to work from their homes, it was digital technology that saved businesses. Video conferencing tools and messaging applications helped teams stay connected. - Project management, CRM, HCM, and many other tools made things a lot easier.
If businesses want to recover from the pandemic and its effects, they will have to embrace smart technologies moving forward. There are innovations in technology that can simplify business processes with the help of AI and machine learning.
A good example of this is a Digital Adoption Platform that helps organizations get higher returns from their software investments by ensuring high adoption of the tech. It trains and onboards employees onto software by guiding employees through complex processes with walkthroughs, automating redundant tasks, and ensuring clean and accurate data with validation tools.
Apty is the highest-rated DAP for customer satisfaction. It takes a proactive approach to adoption by using analytics to find gaps in your processes and fixing them early on.