7 Tips for Putting Your People at the Center of Your Business Continuity Plan
Prevention is better than cure, so how do you expand your Business Continuity Plan to cover your people and mitigate any risks to their health and the health of your organization?
As businesses worldwide react to challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Business Continuity Planning (BCP) is more important than ever. While often focused on software, hardware and infrastructure – any of which can be repaired, replaced or replicated in the event of a disruption – an effective BCP should also protect your company’s most valuable asset: its people.
Prevention is better than cure, so how do you expand your plan to cover your people and mitigate any risks to their health, and the health of your organization? Here are seven steps any people-centric enterprise can take to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, while increasing employees’ abilities to continue supporting the business.
1. Communicate clearly and often
Keep your employees updated on what’s going on and how the organization is responding. Make sure messaging is consistent across departments, sites and territories, and always keep your audience in mind. For example, short social media posts may have the greatest resonance with your Gen Z employees, while baby boomers may want something more in-depth or traditional, like a letter from the CEO.
2. Be prepared to share your plan
In the event of a coronavirus-related incident with an employee or site, your people need to know that the organization is ready to act. Articulate your plan, paying close attention to steps or processes aimed at keeping the workforce safe. Reassure your employees that you are closely monitoring the situation and adhering to recommendations made by relevant local health authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO).
3. Make maintaining personal hygiene easy
Make sure you understand exactly what they need to do in regards to personal hygiene and reinforce the message with signage in prominent locations. Provide soap, hand towels and hand sanitizer (where available). Increase the frequency of cleaning services and consider providing staff with antibacterial wipes to enable shared workstations and communal areas be wiped down before every use.
4. Practice social distancing
Avoid hosting non-business critical meetings, limit travel to business-critical and minimize visits to your sites and offices when possible. As governments around the world begin to take precautions to contain the spread of the virus, including canceling professional sports and closing schools, you need to be in a position to understand which people within your workforce can work remotely and give them the freedom to do so. The fewer people who come to your site, the less chance there is of the virus spreading.
5. Monitor travel and self-quarantine as appropriate
Encourage your employees to share any personal travel plans and enable team members who have traveled to impacted areas to self-quarantine to avoid the potential risk of spreading the virus.
6. Plan for staff members becoming unwell while at work
Encourage your employees to maintain an open dialog with their manager and line managers regarding how they feel so that, if they begin to present symptoms, you can take action quickly. Make sure you have protocols inplace so that if there is an emergency, you can isolate the individual and crucially, that you know how to get them the access they need to healthcare professionals without putting the rest of the team at risk. For this reason it is also vital to ensure any spaces or workstations used by an employee who becomes ill are quickly are thoroughly cleaned with CDC-approved cleaning products.
7. Ensure sick team members stay home
The health and well-being of your employees is the number one priority. In the event someone starts feeling sick, make sure they know to prioritize staying at home, rather than closing out a project or working. Communicate clearly and regularly that it is not only for their well-being, but for the well-being of others that self-isolation is strongly encouraged until they have been authorized by a medical professional to return to work. If one of your employees opts for self-isolation please keep in contact with the employee as they will require moral support and encouragement during this difficult time.
However, by being proactive and by putting your employees first, your organization will have the greatest chance of mitigating risk.
As a global company with over 80,000 employees, Sitel Group has taken action to protect our and maintain our client’s business processes. In addition to suspending all non-essential travel among employees, we have conducted education, training and increased hygiene measures across our 100+ sites around the globe.
To further support our clients, we launched our Business Continuity Planning portal, where we share resources that can help you plan for the unexpected. To learn more, please visit: www.sitel.com/business-continuity-management