Business Continuity - Make a List & Check it Twice
When it comes to business continuity, plans aren’t meant to cover every eventuality but rather provide a starting point and a guide as you work through the situation as it develops. That said, it is important that the plans deliver articulate, clear and concise procedures so if a business critical issue or disaster does occur, everyone is aware and enabled to follow the guidance to keep the business running.
Top Tip: A great way of achieving this is by creating an overarching plan, one that covers the broad basis of the key aspects in a simple, easy to read document. This is a great place to outline the general priorities in times of disruption, bringing all aspects together and can pave the way for more detailed and specific plans once the main priorities are dealt with.
Here is a checklist of ideas to include…
Clear Title: If someone picks up this document, it should be immediately evident what it is. You should want it to do “exactly what it says on the tin”
Purpose: Should outline as clearly as possible what the plan sets out to achieve. Don’t make this overcomplicated or too detailed. Just the sense of the plan and the overall goal.
Scope: Illustrates what the document will cover and in what situations it can be applied. Theft, security breach, criminal damage and others may have a similar protocol to maintain the business continuity, therefore covering the same scope.
Objectives: Some of this may be covered in the “Purpose” section, but if there are more specific objectives that you want to achieve from the plan, it is good to include here.
Assumptions: Lay out the assumptions on which your plan is based. These assumptions will form the overall actions of the plan. Examples; “That the fire escape & main entrances are usable” “The General Manager is present”, “Stairs are accessible” etc
Initiation Instructions: This section should state when the plans should be initiated and who is authorised to do so. Example; “Any person can call this plan into action upon coming across a hazard that calls for an evacuation.”
Team Structure/Roles: Who takes the lead? Who has a responsibility for staff safety? Who is responsible for securing the premises? Who will take charge if key staff members are absent? These are all aspects that will be covered in this section and should outline key roles and responsibilities of each team member involved.
Locations: This should outline details of locations, alternative premises and meeting points which you can utilise during the time of disruption. You can also include maps and access routes for a helpful guide.
Communications: This covers how you plan to maintain communication internally amongst staff, but also externally to customers and other stakeholders. It can also outline how often communications should be made to keep staff updated on the progress to maintain a sense of clarity. Example; “The General Manager will provide daily updates to staff”, “Staff are encouraged to keep their mobile phones on their person”
Contact Details: A contact list of all key personnel, emergency services and other entities that could be contacted in the event of disruption. It is important to keep these details updated regularly.
Action Lists: So, there’s an event that has initiated the BC plan. What do people need to do? When do they need to do them? How long should the task take? Etc. The actions list should provide a set of actions that need to be taken to initiate and execute the plan.
As with everything, practice makes perfect! Whether it’s a fire drill, dry-run regarding theft or criminal damage to property, practising the plan and procedures on a regular basis will increase awareness among the employees, meaning when a real issue occurs everyone is aware of what to do.
Furthermore, change is inevitable so keeping this plan regularly updated is also very important. So, once you develop your list, be sure to check it twice.
If you would like to find out more about Business Continuity plans, discuss the importance of these, or to find what type of Business Continuity plan is right for your business give me a call on +353 1 2809410