COVID-19 taught us the value of having a plan in place when life hits us with the unexpected.
Whether or not that was the case for your business, now is the perfect time to reflect on what worked for your team throughout the pandemic, what didn’t, and how you can improve the next time you find yourselves in a sticky situation.
A business continuity plan ensures that the necessary steps are taken to anticipate the impact of potential losses, maintain viable recovery strategies, and oversee the stability of operations.
This can be achieved through training and education programs for staff, testing of emergency plans, and examining actual operational response during and after an emergency.
There are several key elements in a business continuity plan including communication, life safety, property protection, community outreach, recovery and restoration, and, most importantly, implementation and maintenance.
It is important to specify a team to handle the various duties related to recovery and restoration. Make sure they understand their duties and the seriousness of their role and have them explicitly agree to be part of the emergency response team. Determine response strategies and make a plan for activating resources as needed.
The communication component should incorporate whom to call in the case of an emergency and who will be responsible for notifying staff and clients. It’s a good idea to keep a paper copy of an employee contact list in an emergency binder so that it can be accessed easily in an event such as a power outage.
Protecting the health and safety of everyone in your facility is key during an emergency. Have a plan for evacuation, a meeting place for staff to assemble and take attendance, as well as designated locations to take shelter whether within the facility or away from the facility in a public building. Make sure to include a strategy for your most valuable assets: your employees. In the event that an employee experiences a life-altering incident outside of work, such as a house fire, you should be ready to put a support system in place. As appropriate, this could include the facilitation of crisis counselling, daycare, or temporary living arrangements.
The property protection section of your plan should detail property protection systems that safeguard your assets when you cannot, such as fire protection systems, water level monitoring, automatic shutoffs, and emergency power generator systems. In this section of your plan, you will also incorporate a plan for emergency mitigation, facility shutdown, and records preservation.
How will you handle community attention that results from the incident? The community outreach component of your plan should detail how you will interface with outside organizations for support and who will handle communications with the media.
Keep your plan current by actively exercising, maintaining, and reviewing it. Conduct drills and exercises frequently and perform an audit annually to assess its effectiveness. A comprehensive Business Continuity Planning toolkit is available from any one of our trusted advisors. Connect with us today for any additional questions regarding the continuity planning process or assistance with its implementation. We are always happy to help.
This article was published in the Spring 2021 issue of the General Insurance Services Risk & Business Magazine. Access the full publication here
Nicole was raised in Crown Point, IN graduating from Crown Point High School and earning a Bachelor’s degree from Purdue University Northwest’s Hospitality and Tourism Management Program. She now resides in Hobart with her husband, Adam, and their pets, Finn and Louie. Prior to joining GIS, Nicole has gained a background in hospitality, banking, as well as in the non-profit sector as a Community Development Manager. She is a member of the Hobart Chamber of Commerce, Hobart Kiwanis, Full Circle Young Professionals, Purdue Northwest Alumni Association, and Secretary of the Merrillville Rotary Club. In her free time Nicole enjoys the beach, day trips to Michigan with her husband and volunteering.