How To Use A Business Continuity Plan To Keep Your Company Afloat
When one utters the words “business continuity plans”, what immediately comes to mind? Is it knowing how to adapt the nature of your company to fit modern times? Is it about prioritizing health and safety measures for employees? Or, could it be focusing on how to futureproof your business? This way, you can conquer every other challenge that comes your way.
While some may agree with one over the other, others might say that all of them are equally spot on. In reality, business continuity planning involves a vast array of activities that touch on various aspects of a company. But, all are aimed at one thing in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic—to help you, as an employer, hirer, or human resources (HR) professional, respond to and recover from the crisis by using a carefully documented procedure that you can conveniently follow. This is according to the Department of Trade and Industry - Bureau of Philippine Standards based on its business continuity planning (BSP) guide for COVID-19.
What is business continuity planning good for exactly?
Needless to say, COVID-19 continues to be one of the biggest threats to business survival, affecting thousands of livelihoods around the Philippines alone. Equally, if not more, alarming is the number of local companies that don’t have the readiness to recover from it.
Among them, MSMEs, which make up 99.5% of the country’s businesses, are the most financially vulnerable to the pandemic. Short for micro, small, and medium enterprises, consequently, they play an astronomical role in reviving the Philippine economy.
But before they can do that, they must first grow a stronger backbone for themselves. One way to do this is by having their own business continuity planning. Aside from its merits on a national level, as a company, you may also benefit from the following advantages of business continuity plans:
Reduce health risks for everyone working in and with your company. This may include your employees, partners, and even visitors.
Have a workplace or work arrangement that can help prevent further COVID-19 transmission among everyone in the business.
Develop processes that will make sure your operations keep on going. That includes the times when someone needs to undergo quarantine or isolation.
Build arrangements with other stakeholders so that if the above scenario does happen, you can still support your business.
How to prepare a business continuity plan that works
Whether you’re one of the employers or key hirers of your company, know that your role in business continuity planning cannot be understated. Yes, there will be plenty of work that needs to be done on top of your already existing day-to-day routine. However, if you’re serious about helping your business thrive in the years to come, then now more than ever, think of what a good business continuity plan can look like for you. The following business continuity planning tips are a good start.
You should be able to identify all possible threats Like any person born with a distinct fingerprint, every business is unique. And how the COVID-19 pandemic affects your company could be different from the rest. Hence, you’ll need to really sit down and discuss every potential scenario among other leaders. If you’re a smaller company, making sure to involve your employees should even be something to consider. Only then can you think beyond the technical aspects of your business and focus on the things that truly matter—your people, first and foremost.
When these critical aspects have been determined and prepared for, you can further ensure that whatever actions you decide to carry out are as realistic as possible, while also promising effective results.
Know what’s going around you in real-time Trying to survive the pandemic without staying informed about the various developments surrounding it is as good as walking with blindfolds on. It might be possible, but the risks that come with it simply aren’t worth it. What is the government currently doing to assist small businesses? Was there a change in protocols for workplaces in the last few weeks? Which companies are even allowed to operate for the time being? All these questions are answerable by developing a reliable way to stay connected amid these times and maintaining it.
Aside from following the news, make it a point to connect with your stakeholders and various partners outside your organization. It’s one of the most important things! For instance, below are a few official resources to get you started:
Department of Trade and Industry
Department of Labor and Employment
Department of the Interior and Local Government
Be clear on functions you assign to individuals No plan is ever successful without having the right people to execute it. This obviously holds true when you’re dealing with a crisis wherein every move you make can literally spell the difference between life and death. When you’ve succeeded in identifying how the problem affects you and developed communication tools that ensure you’re on the right track on what you can do about them, it’s time to focus on assignments and how you can pass on the information to the rest of the company for application.
But first, which activities should you assign to which person? What kind of teams would your business specifically require? Who among the employees is the top priority to work at the office versus from home? Furthermore, is it possible to work with another business or service provider to carry out your tasks more efficiently? Then, think about how you can communicate these to your employees as openly as possible. “We need to explain the purpose and benefits to every new implemented rule or guidelines as we roll them out,” Ubiquity’s Michelle Sacramento shares. “We need to educate and not just to simply hand out something to read.”
Your people’s health and safety are top priority As more and more businesses resume working from offices, discover how you can replicate the same initiative without jeopardizing either of your company and your people. If going to a physical space is truly necessary, the first thing you must take into account is how to protect them from further health risks. For this, see to it that the safety instructions and policies are clear enough for your employees to grasp and comply with. Are there existing precautionary measures in place at the office? If there isn’t, how can you ensure the safety of your people? However you manage this part of your business continuity planning, understand that it will eventually reflect on your reputation as a company too.
For any recovery plan to work, it will always boil down to how you manage your people. If protecting them is not in any of your priorities, then who are you to run a business in the first place? If you’ve ever wondered why business continuity plans fail for some companies, then it’s most likely because they failed at this crucial aspect in executing them.
The time to work on business continuity plans is now
No matter how lightly or gravely the COVID-19 pandemic has affected your business, one way to ensure making it out successfully is by having a business continuity plan that specifically works for your company. While no amount of readiness can guarantee 100% survival from this crisis, as one saying goes, there is never any harm in being prepared. Better be one than not at all, that’s for sure.