As the Corona crisis continues to spread, it is clear that no organization will be left unharmed. Ensuring business continuity is therefore high on the agenda for AE and, as we observed over the last few days, for our customers as well. We believe that we must support each other as much as we can to get through this difficult time with only minimal damage. Now more than ever, we must join forces.
Stefanie Fauconnier, senior consultant at AE, shares some best practices to draw up and successfully implement a business continuity plan for your organization.
Hello Stefanie! What do you think organizations shouldn’t be doing at a time like this?
It can be tempting to adopt a top-down approach, where high-level executives work out a detailed plan which they then communicate to the rest of the organization. But while pushing a plan onto your staff may seem the most efficient path you can take, experience has taught me that the contrary tends to be true.
What is your recommended approach for developing and rolling out a business continuity plan?
Now especially, it is important to involve people from different layers of the organization in developing solutions. It’s a double win: on the one hand, you gain crucial new insights to improve your solution, and on the other, you boost your employees’ level of engagement and commitment to put the solution into practice together.
Do you have more concrete tips? What steps should businesses follow?
- The top level of the organization must limit itself to developing a clear framework and possibly an initial basic design for a solution: what are our main goals? What direction will we take to achieve those goals?
- Next, it’s important to consult with some of the people who will be putting the solution into practice. Based on their input, you can adjust your plan or even change it completely. If necessary, go back to the drawing board a few more times until you are all good and ready to work out the final solution in detail.
- Finally, communicate your solution to the organization as a whole, preferably letting the people whom you consulted in the second step do most of the talking.
Are there also challenges to this approach?
It may seem as if you're not making progress at first. After all, achieving a tangible result may take a while when you have continuous feedback to take into account. However, trust the process. The feedback you receive is necessary to safeguard the quality of the solution and to ensure the necessary support in the long run. The pieces of the puzzle will fall into place before you realize it!
What should companies bear in mind when rolling out the plan?
Naturally, a business continuity plan doesn’t end once it’s been communicated. The plan and the associated solutions must be successfully put into practice as well. Don’t expect everything to run perfectly from the get-go. In this phase too, follow-up will be necessary and adjustments will have to be made, based on feedback from practice. Because we can only become stronger if we all work together.