Tailor Business Continuity Plans to the Challenges of COVID-19
by Violet Xu
Violet is the Vice President of Global Service Delivery at ReSource Pro.
When the coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan, China, businesses worldwide started to anticipate the impact. The coronavirus—or COVID-19—has infected thousands and, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, is set to cause global GDP growth in 2020 to drop by 0.5% compared to last year, and could fall further if the pandemic continues.
We in insurance are acutely aware of the economic impact of disasters. Have you turned that concern about risk inward, to your own business operations? Creating a dedicated business continuity plan (BCP), or a pre-written plan of action which you can execute in the event of a business disruption, will help you mitigate any potential damage and keep your employees safe.
In Mercer’s ongoing survey of business responses to COVID-19, a quarter of respondents say they don’t have a BCP but are currently developing one. Whether you are starting from scratch or have a global pandemic BCP written out, you will still have to tailor your approach to the specifics of COVID-19.
ReSource Pro first activated our BCP in response to COVID-19 in January in order to support and protect our China employees. To help you draft your own BCPs, we’d like to share a few of our lessons learned.
3 Must-Do’s for COVID-19 Response
Even if you already have a BCP that seems foolproof, it doesn’t hurt to make sure you’ve covered these three basics.
1. Establish a crisis management team.
Having a BCP isn’t enough if there’s no one to execute it smoothly. Designate a team of specialists who can monitor the crisis, gather data, and convene as frequently as once or twice a day to discuss an action plan. The scale and scope of epidemics and pandemics evolve rapidly, so these regular meetings ensure that every step of your BCP is not only carried out effectively but also gives all stakeholders the updates they need to respond appropriately. In some cases, it may even be necessary to form a second subgroup that can handle more detailed tasks or certain regions.
2. Create an effective communications plan.
The need for communication during a crisis may seem obvious, but don’t take your current capabilities for granted. Check that your employees’ contact information is up to date, establish communication channels and protocols, and in the event your BCP is activated, don’t forget to work closely with any clients, partners, and vendors who are directly affected. Since your organization is likely to face countless questions during a crisis, ready.gov recommends preparing a list of pre-scripted messages in advance.
3. Evaluate Your Remote Work Capabilities.
When ReSource Pro’s BCP was first activated, 70% of our affected employees already had remote capabilities. Our mission was then to ensure that the remaining 30% quickly received the tools they needed to continue work unabated. Consider whether or not your organization has the ability to conduct remote operations, but don’t stop there. How many of your employees are prepared to work remotely? What will you do if they aren’t?
Business continuity planning is an all-hands effort, but being prepared is worth it. By establishing a core outline that includes a crisis management team, communication plan, and remote work policy, you can better respond to business challenges as they arise.
Need help with your business continuity planning? Contact us to learn how your organization can best respond to COVID-19 and other potential business disruptions.