Remaining resilient during COVID-19 and beyond – Top tips for maintaining business continuity

With the global scale COVID-19 pandemic and disruptions to businesses, it’s important that your organization is well-prepared to effectively prevent and minimize disruptions to your business.

Read our top tips on how you can better prepare and respond to business disruptions and maintain organisational resilience.

1. Identify critical business processes

Mitigate risks to your business by identifying your critical business processes, main dependencies, possible workarounds and their recovery time objective.  Applying a structured approach to the threats that are posed to them.

2. Identify critical partners

Identify both key internal and external partners with a dependency description and emergency contact details, while considering the key business processes.

3. Develop a Business Continuity plan

Make a plan considering the seven ‘P’s needed to keep your business operational: providers (internal and suppliers), performance (service level agreements you need to meet), processes, people, premises, profile (your brand) and preparation.

Ensure your plan is well documented, easily accessible and periodically reviewed following any significant change or relevant learnings. Establish the critical electronic & hardcopy documents, establish storage and backup requirements and recovery time objective.

4. Communicate with internal and external stakeholders

Ensure plans are communicated, understood and are accessible to business continuity management team. Communicate your plan with other employees through the new employee induction training (awareness) and refreshment training (awareness). Communicate with your clients and other key stakeholders about your arrangements to boost their confidence in your ability to maintain ‘business as usual’.5. Test your plans

Exercise your business continuity plans with planned scenarios to identify areas needing improvement and to reinforce roles and responsibilities among participants.  Exercises range from ‘table top exercises’ requiring minimal preparation or business operations disruption, to full exercises that require significant planning, budget and participation from the workforce and key external partners. The program should be regularly audited to ensure it its continuing suitability and effectiveness.

5. Continuous improve

Key to the success of the business continuity programme is the ongoing maintenance effort. Ensure that as your organisation changes, the plan is kept current.  Examples of such change could include organizational changes as well as changes to key business partners or processes.  If your plans haven’t been reviewed periodically then they probably won’t meet current requirements or address new challenges. Organizations need to actively learn from their incident, internal audits, tests, management reviews and external incidents.

7. Have a crisis communications plan

Having a crisis management team and nominated senior spokesperson deliver a communications plan can ensure clear messages are communicated to public, media and your stakeholders. Reinforcing confidence in your organization’s ability to respond and recover.

Need help with your business continuity management programme? Please contact us for a free initial assessment. Read more of our ISO 22301 Business Continuity Management System consultancy and training service.

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