Everything from human mistakes to climate-driven disasters can create risks for your business. In 2018, the 10 worst natural disasters in the US cost companies more than 80 billion dollars in damage. Companies of every size need to know how to identify and manage these risks to survive.
Does your company have a business disaster plan in place to protect operations? If not, read further to find out how to create one and how they can help business owners plan for disasters.
What is business continuity?
“Business continuity” is the term for continuing business operations after a major interruption. These interruptions can include human error, natural disasters or cybersecurity attacks.
Companies build continuity strategies to help ensure that employees avoid injuries. These strategies also support delivering vital services. The vehicle to put these strategies into motion is a business disaster plan.
What is a business disaster plan?
A business disaster plan outlines procedures for employees to follow to resume operations after a disaster. Business or company disaster plans identify the essential operations of the business. They also identify which systems to maintain during the crisis.
Elements of a comprehensive business disaster plan include:
Business impact analysis
A business impact analysis will identify the company’s critical services and products. This impact analysis also ranks which services or products need quick recovery during a crisis situation. Impacts can depend on the company’s potential for lost revenue or business recovery risk.
Identified governance structures
This section outlines the company’s governance structure that summarizes roles and responsibilities. These responsibilities help guide company leaders to provide continuity management and oversight. Governance structures also identify key contacts for employees to call when emergencies occur.
Employee guidance before/during a crisis
A disaster plan should summarize the company’s protocols to follow during a crisis. This section tells employees how to follow the business emergency plan. It will contain guidance on what conditions should exist to put the plan in motion.
For example, your business emergency plan can spell out alert levels. Employees will know the varying levels of an emergency. Also include how staff should track these levels.
Your plan can also provide helpful personal health procedures. These procedures can prevent pandemic conditions from spreading throughout the workplace.
For example, your plan might include procedures to promote safe hygiene. These procedures might be something as simple as a reminder to wash hands often. Other procedures might cover excluding staff from projects who have infectious illnesses.
Business disaster plans might also have policies for managing employee actions. These employee actions could include telecommuting or travel restrictions.
These guidelines should also outline effects to employee salaries during a crisis. Business disaster plans can also outline how workers should report their absences.
Business disaster plans should always include ongoing training requirements. These requirements help staff to stay up-to-date on managing emergencies.
Communication is vital to making sure your business disaster preparedness controls are effective. This includes communication before/during/after a crisis. Define the chain of command for employees to communicate with during the crisis.
Your business disaster plan can also outline how your company will prepare and distribute updates to staff. These updates should include the status of the crisis at hand.
Leadership may also decide to distribute appropriate educational materials to staff. These materials might include how to recognize signs and symptoms of infections. They might also distribute ideas on how staff can protect their families from illness.
Business emergency plans should include communication procedures with local governmental safety agencies. There should also be sections on how to communicate updates to your local media, if necessary.
Temporary steps to provide and recover business functions
This part covers all measures needed for a company to operate at its least level of service. This includes the necessary personnel and equipment to operate at these reduced levels. Companies like Able Sales, for example, have reliable emergency equipment to support operations in even the harshest environmental conditions.
Arrangements might include acceptable time frames for the company to react and recover. The company disaster plan will also go over how they plan to recover their assets and data after the crisis is over.
Who creates a business disaster plan?
You can assign responsibility to a team of your own employees to write your disaster plan. Select some supervisors from your company to be in charge of this project. Assign staff members who have the following attributes:
- A grasp of your company’s goals;
- Creative thinking skills to create options to unique challenges;
- Reliable decision-making abilities; and
- Skilled research skills to identify potential risks.
Advantages to business disaster preparedness
Business disaster preparedness can provide the following benefits to both large and small companies:
Uniform employee responses
When you have a company disaster plan, your employees will learn what it takes to keep the business functioning at status quo (to the public.) Business disaster preparedness guidelines can also reduce their stress levels. They want to serve your customers too, and you will see improvement in their job satisfaction as well.
Continual customer service
An effective company emergency plan can help your company continue serving your customers as long as it takes until the disaster is over. Business disaster preparedness can help reduce customer complaints. You will also be able to maintain their loyalty to you as well.
Talk to your staff today and ask for volunteers to serve on your business disaster plan team. Work with your team to identify mission-critical services and products. Decide how you will maintain your least level of service no matter what the crisis is.
Establish working relationships with your local media and governmental safety agencies. They can be your best partners to disseminate updates quickly and effectively.
Don’t forget to check our website for more helpful advice on starting and growing your business. We can help guide you on how to plan for the unpredictable. Show your employees and other partners that you are ready to keep your company running no matter what hazards come your way.