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Why business continuity planning is so important during times of crisis

The world as we know it has changed. Across the globe, organisations spanning all sectors and sizes are currently reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This invisible enemy is crippling economies, restricting individual freedom and forcing organisations to change the way they work – at least temporarily – in order to protect staff and save lives.

Without question, we are in the middle of a crisis, the likes of which hasn’t been seen on this scale since World War II. But we know that this will pass. This is a highly challenging, but short-term, position that we all find ourselves in right now.

Despite present difficulties, life must go on.  Business must go on.

During uncertain times, business continuity planning is absolutely essential: simply put, it is the difference-maker between companies that are unable to survive rocky market conditions, and those that ultimately thrive.  Crises, such as the one we are facing right now, can be overcome, with effective, strategic and forward-thinking plans proactively put in place.

Implement effective systems and processes

We live in an age of rampant technological innovation, and now is the time to harness it fully.  Business’ eyes have been opened to different ways of operating, with remote working now unexpectedly thrust upon the masses.

To not only weather the storm but also move beyond it, it is essential to prioritise having robust IT systems in place that can enable all of your team to work collaboratively and effectively together and provide a seamless service. Against this backdrop, it’s no surprise tools such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Slack have experienced huge spikes in demand since the scale of the pandemic first became clear.

Prioritise staff wellbeing

Your people need you more than ever before during a time of crisis: strong leaders reassure and guide teams, successfully navigating the course through choppy waters. In the midst of a crisis, it can be all too easy to focus solely on the problem at hand– but people should always be prioritised, especially when working at a distance from one another: a recent study found that while remote working provides many benefits, a fifth of remote workers also experience feelings of loneliness – a figure that’s only likely to increase in the months ahead.

Successful business continuity can only be achieved with great people at the centre, so don’t lose sight of your team and their ongoing contributions to your organisation’s goals; when the storm passes, it will be these same individuals that you need to rely on to recover.

Build a strong talent pipeline

Of course, in some sectors, it will unfortunately not be possible to retain all of your people at this challenging time – this is the unavoidable truth for many. In other sectors, current economic conditions will soon give rise to sizeable demand.

If this proves to be the case, you should now be actively looking to build your talent pipeline in readiness for future growth. Rather than focusing solely on the present crisis, carve out time to proactively seek out ambitious candidates and kickstart the process to arrange video interviews, so that you’re prepared and ready to move as soon as it’s right to hire once again.

Take a flexible approach

Crises can have a huge negative impact – especially when there is limited organisational flexibility.  In situations like we now find ourselves, the only response is to embrace change and adapt; previous ways of working, and any plans you may have had for the year, no longer suffice.

Use this situation as an opportunity to evolve your proposition and offering within the marketplace and establish a key point of difference from your competitors. Involve trusted members of your team in this process, not only to gather varying opinions but also to engender greater internal loyalty.

Accept that disruption is inevitable and unavoidable, but that it is still possible to plan for the future and begin to put continuity activity in place to future-proof your business for the long haul.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 we opened our first London office, to service Clients and Candidates in the capital.

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Allen Associates

Allen Associates

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