Lessons learned from implementing BCPs during covid-19

2 min read
Aug 25, 2021

Before 2020, managing the impact of a global pandemic was not exactly a major focus for risk managers when developing business continuity plans (BCPs). After dealing with covid-19, however, many organisations have evolved how they manage crises, as well as create and adjust BCPs.

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Many companies have been forced to rethink their business continuity plans (BCPs) in light of the unprecedented situation, particularly due to the global nature of the pandemic and the impact of government-enforced lockdowns.

Crisis response plans need to be agile – with many teams adopting Agile working methods – to adapt to different events and incidents and also must be tailored to each business location.

At a recent Risk Leadership Network meeting, members discussed lessons learned during the global pandemic. The bulk of the impact was felt in the early stages of the global crisis as most countries started to implement national lockdowns and mandated all non-essential employees to work from home.

These unprecedented events led many risk teams to adjust their organisation’s BCPs and crisis management plans just before, as well as during and after, the major impacts of the pandemic started to be felt around the world.

Inevitably, there’s now the longer-term impact on many business’ continuity and crisis management strategies.

For many, this is unknown territory.

Below are three of the lessons members have learned from implementing their BCPs during the covid-19 pandemic, as discussed at the recent member meeting.

The full meeting write-up is available for all members on our Intelligence platform, and includes a template BCP framework as well as related action levels. This meeting was part of a series we’re hosting on crisis management. The write-up complements a wider guide available for members on developing a best practice approach to organisational resilience, drawing upon the methods risk leaders are using at their own organisations.

1. Communication

While always considered important, some members found they needed to make their organisation’s communications function a more primary element of their crisis response efforts. For one organisation, this meant including a comms team member in all crisis meetings and crisis response exercises to enable them to feed vital information through to the workforce. The business continuity manager at this organisation also set up a central information hub that was manned throughout the crisis by an internal and an external comms employee.

2. Wellbeing

Many organisations discovered a more pressing need to monitor and look after employee’s physical and, particularly during lockdown, mental health during the pandemic. Having this concern written into your BCP in advance and assigning ownership to a division such as HR will ensure that employee wellbeing is uppermost in mind both during and after a crisis. This need can stem from an ongoing event, such as employees working from home or in quarantine, or a shorter duration event such as a terrorist attack. The impact of both on your colleagues could be very long-term.

3. Digitisation

This was a key change made to support business continuity during the pandemic. When many countries were in lockdown, it was crucial for organisations to manage the shift from wet signatures to use digital applications such as DocuSign. Even if apps were not used, this meant ensuring employees with authorisation responsibilities could print and scan from home.

Find out more about upcoming Risk Leadership Network member meetings here.

To read the in-depth Q&A on lessons learned from members’ BCP implementation, and to have access to all our other content, tools, templates, member meetings and global network of risk leaders, talk to us about becoming a member today.

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