Creating a Business Continuity Plan That Sticks

Despite whatever might be happening in the world, business goes on. And even in the direst, most unforeseen situations, business preparedness is a must.

But creating a business continuity plan isn’t just about safeguarding against those out-of-left-field occurrences and breakdowns. The most well-prepared companies have contingency plans for both regular and impromptu shakeups, and they clearly outline those plans for their teams.

Not sure how to create a business continuity plan that leaves your company ready for anything? Put these strategies in place:

  1. Don’t let communication falter. David Grossman’s research for “The Cost of Poor Communications” showed just that: Companies with more than 100,000 employees lose $62.4 million annually due to poor communication, with small businesses bleeding $420,000 a year.

A business of any size cannot afford drops in production during uncertain times, so make a business communication plan central to your preparedness strategy. This plan should get input from all levels and all departments to ensure employees feel like their needs are addressed.

Once all communication is agreed upon, share the company’s plan and ask workers to familiarize themselves with it. Your team should feel empowered and ready to act, so workflow stays somewhat steady when it isn’t business as usual.

  1. Lean on key performance indicators (KPIs). When creating a business continuity plan, it’s best to see that plan as a work in progress. That progress will often hinge on metrics and KPIs that show how well you operate during less-than-ideal junctures.

When measuring business preparedness, two figures matter most: Product + Service metrics analyze how well a business retains urgent activities and resources needed for continuity, and Activity + Compliance metrics spotlight whether deliverables and outcomes align with expectations.

These measurements paint a clear picture of how prepared your business is to handle uncertainty. Use them as guidance for what your business continuity plan does well — and what it could do better.

  1. Prioritize employee safety. Associates and employees should feel safe whenever they step on campus or open their laptops. As you put steps in place for business continuity, give workers peace of mind that their physical well-being is looked after.

Creating a business continuity plan without accounting for health and safety leaves your workforce in peril. Develop safety protocols while providing team members with the resources, equipment, and processes they need to protect themselves while working.

Social distancing, for example, will be a priority for offices reopening after the pandemic. In terms of process, offices might try situating work areas and seating so everyone feels safe enough to maintain productivity.

The question of how to create a business continuity plan depends significantly on how individual companies define business preparedness. Constructing a plan that highlights communication, measuring success/failure, and safety will guarantee that it’s built with a productive and associate-first mentality.