All organisations must be prepared to respond to an emergency, disaster, or crisis and have pre-planned strategies in place that enable them to recover from the effects of such situations as timely as possible. Business Continuity Management (BCM) helps increase organisational resilience by identifying priority activities, developing suitable strategies and solutions for continuity following disruption, and allocating necessary resources to minimise the impact of disruption.
While it may feel like a burden when you have other priorities, a robust business continuity strategy or plan could ease some of the pressures and decisions you and your people may face when your business most needs it. It could also provide an extra competitive edge and peace of mind, especially in the business environment which is constantly shifting. In addition, having a business continuity plan in place can reduce the amount of thinking time needed following an incident and can help contain and minimise the extent of the potential damage.
An effective business continuity strategy should provide a framework for incident management and decision-making, critical IT staff and networks that are ready to respond, and altered/alternative workspaces that can be quickly leveraged in the event of a crisis. It should also help you to re-evaluate your business interruption insurance against a backdrop of inflationary pressures, supply chain challenges, and other risks.
The BCM Process
In order to develop BCM arrangements consistent with best practices, organisations should adhere to a standard process1:
Policy and Programme Management
- Establishment of the organisation’s BCM policy.
- Alignment with the organisation’s strategic objectives.
- Defines how the BCM system will be implemented.
- Business Impact Analysis.
- Risk Assessment.
- Identification and selection of business continuity strategies and solutions.
- Development of business continuity plans (BCPs).
- Includes response framework and structure.
- Testing and exercising BCM arrangements.
- Maintenance and updating.
- Management reviews and audits.
- Integration of BCM into ‘business as usual’ culture of the organisation.
- Inclusion of BCM considerations in any organisational change.
The following ten-point plan should also be incorporated into any BCM thinking2:
- Ensure you are clear on the organisation’s priority activities (time-critical) in the event of loss of resources.
- Prepare for unexpected absences, particularly in priority roles (i.e., identify cross-trained staff, succession plan where possible).
- Modify policies to give greater flexibility to normal working arrangements.
- Establish and confirm welfare policies.
- Reinforce internal peer support or other welfare mechanisms such as employee assistance programmes and occupational health support.
- Implement a clear and regular communication strategy across the organisation.
- Ensure the workplace has adequate supplies of cleaning and hygiene products.
- Communicate the business continuity strategy across the organisation.
- Assign someone in, or close to, the leadership team to monitor official information sources, advice and assistance from the government, health and other relevant agencies.
- Avoid the use of social media as a source of trustworthy information and reinforce this to employees.
Taking the Next Step
Our Risk Management Solutions team understands the external risks and global trends that are affecting the costs and impacts of major losses, and our experienced and qualified BCM specialists can assist you with your business continuity planning — whatever the size of your organisation. This can range from helping you test your existing business continuity plan to working with you to build or refine it for increased resilience in today’s risk climate. If you wish to find out more, get in touch today via the contact details below: