The impact of a pandemic such as the coronavirus, COVID-19, is widely evident on the global community, its citizens, and businesses. Losses arising from the disruption initiated by the Virus since when it was first discovered in November 2019 until now are huge. Most hit by the pandemic are companies that have no plans and strategies to deal with disruption risk and those with pseudo or untested business continuity plans.
While the end of the disruptive tendency of coronavirus seems not in sight and what appears to be certain is uncertainty, it is therefore imperative that businesses, business owners, risk managers, and project managers and others review their pandemic preparedness, response structure and process, recover mechanism in order to prosper going forward.
Provided below are some of the actions an organization and key stakeholders can take to thrive in a pandemic and retrieve life to normal:
Focus and Ownership – At every phase in its experience during and after pandemic, the organization’s top echelon needs to decide on the focus and the objective of the organization per time and this may include any of the following: respond, recover and thrive. The focus should be shared extensively with relevant parties including external service providers to promote ownership and delivery
Collaboration and Continued Information Gathering -The organization needs to set up appropriate structure necessary for continued information gathering and collaboration. The process should be assigned to responsible person(s) who will be accountable for information gathering, analysis and dissemination. Analytical and predictive tools that offer predictive solutions could the accessed by the organization to speak into the future.
Competence and Awareness: For every phase in its journey as an organization during and after disruption, it is necessary that the organization determines competence required for each state and ensure that it is adequately provided. More so, all employees should be made aware of the intentions and other elements of business continuity programs of the organization and how employees are expected to connect to it. The extent of this connection should be measured over time.
Communication: One critical driver of success in managing disruption risk is communication. It is a vital process that should be designed to address internal and external communication including methods and tools. The effectiveness of this process should be evaluated regularly. As a matter of importance, top management and in some cases, Human Capital department and functional heads, should communicate frequently with their staff, customers, and other relevant stakeholders.
Risk Assessment and Business Impact Analysis: Furthermore, the organization needs to track new risks or emerging risks and update its business impact analysis and risk assessment process if it has one otherwise, it needs to elaborate processes to identify risk on an on-going basis during and after recovery and while planning the future for prosperity. In addition, the effectiveness of existing controls should be evaluated for effectiveness while new controls are proposed and executed as may be necessary.
Responsibly, the organization needs to review the effectiveness of its business continuity strategies and solutions designed to protect, stabilize, continue, resume, and recover the organization’s activities during disruption of this nature. However, where none has been elaborated, the organization will need to identify business continuity strategies appropriate to its continuity of business objectives now and in the future.
Business Continuity Plans and Exercise Programs
Detailed business continuity plans are necessary to manage disruption. Even now, most companies that have responded positively to COVID-19 pandemic activated one plan or more successfully and keep modifying the plan(s) in response to changing times and new requirements for full recovery of services and the business.
However, organizations with no business continuity plans and planned arrangements to address continuity of business risk will need thought through plans to prepare for, respond to, recover from, and thrive from disruption of coronavirus and any other pandemics.
Exercising and testing programs will seek to validate the effectiveness of the strategies and solutions selected by the organization to address the disruption risk and with the view to identify opportunity for improvement.
Building capabilities and capacity for resilience is expensive but however, adopting no strategy as an option is disastrous to the business and calls for extinction.
Trainer, Consultant, Lead Implementer and Lead Auditor in Business Continuity Management System based on ISO/IEC 22301:2019 Standard. He can be contacted through email: firstname.lastname@example.org