The 8 Avoidable Mistakes That Can Cripple A Business Continuity Plan

You never know what can happen, especially in the world of business. Setbacks and unforeseen occurrences have a nasty way of causing hiccups in the status quo of your day-to-day operations in a company – the means of overcoming these setbacks is entirely dependent on your Business Continuity Plan (or BCP for short). While your current operations may appear to be foolproof, setback-proof, and efficient – the reality is that setbacks and obstacles can often manifest in any number of ways. Losing a large client is one such instance, data breaches another, sometimes its simply poor team dynamics. This is where your Business Continuity Plan takes form and meaning. The BCP is essentially your roadmap in the fog, your steering wheel in a spinout, your means of navigating harsh and unexpected situations and allow operations to continue as per normal. This could be plans for management resourcing, checklists for supplies, data backup protocols, assets, partners etc. While these may wildly vary from company to company and industry to industry – the fundamentals remain the same. With the end goal being to keep a company operating at peak and efficient capacity throughout unplanned situations and re-establish a sense of normalcy and productivity. The optimal way of achieving this end is to have a BCP that is reliable, the way to do this, is to plan accordingly and keep a keen eye on it through the developmental stages. This article will be delving into the 8 most common and avoidable mistakes we’ve seen when we see businesses prepare their BCP, and how you can circumvent them accordingly.

The 8 Avoidable Mistakes That Can Cripple A Business Continuity Plan

1)    Disregarding Your Workers

Discussing and eliciting opinions of your employees is often overlooked by some companies when constructing their BCP, this is vital for assurance of safety. After an unexpected incident, the safety precautions for your workers should be held in a paramount manner. It is only through considering your employees needs and requirements through a variety of conceivable scenarios that will allow a greater cohesion and quickened return to normalcy after the dust has settled. When devising your BCP, be sure to include contingencies and considerations that can include essential safety protocols like escape/evacuation routes, communicative protocols etc. Through this you’ll establish yourself as leaders that care for their workers and put their safety and input at the forefront.

2)    Ignoring The Little Things

One of the key errors made by a large number of organizations in the planning and subsequent implementation of their BCPs is ignoring the little things. The smaller details that can make or break the efficiency of a BCP in a crisis and avert the very intention of the plan in the first place. Failure to consider things like logistical backups in technology and medical aid can lead to furthering an issue instead of addressing it. For example, keeping medical providers in the loop surrounding your BCP gives them optimal time to prepare for your contingencies. Informing select personnel about the proper channels to navigate when requiring medical assistance will also assist. Determining a failsafe for accessing data remotely is also recommended for workers who are not able to make it to the physical office. Protecting your staff as well as your data is as simple as looking for these little things and approaching and addressing them in the planning stages of your BCP. Ensure you’re checking it regularly and ensure that all measures are up to date.

3)    Not Showing Your People The Way It All Works

While developing and implementing a solid BCP, many leaders often neglect to mention or run-through the intricacies and active parameters of their BCP with their employees. As we have already established, your employees are integral and instrumental in making the BCP operational and effective through a crisis. Neglecting to keep them in the loop and showcase how to operate in the event of an emergency or setback could cost you time and money. Getting them well-versed in how it all comes together will allow you to understand the leaks in the plan, as well as give your workers the sense of what to do when an event does happen. Their response is often reflected in the preparation and knowledge of the details and processes therein. Running through how to respond to clients in the event of a crisis, meeting points in emergencies, and means of access if physical presence is untenable will allow you to get back to normal in a much quicker manner. Instituting a drill for these protocols is often the best way of preparing your workers for the worst.

4)    Putting The Operations Above Safety

While putting the needs of the business first is a very laudable goal for keeping the numbers crunching and the money flowing – worker safety and assurance needs to take precedent in your BCP. Operations can only continue if you have people to operate with after all – and neglecting their needs can lead to even more dire circumstances in the long run. Ensuring their safety is a priority for several reasons – not only does it elicit a sense of precautionary optimism in them to have the BCP put the needs of people above profits, but also in the fact that a perfectly formulated but operational-centric BCP still requires your workers to execute them, without them, there is no BCP. So, when devising your BCP, make sure to include factors relating to your staff and their ability to communicate after a crisis and be contactable to check on their safety. Doing this will benefit the company at large and allow them to have access to their workers and ensure that operations resume quicker.

5)    Unthought Tech Solutions

Don’t neglect the wonders and efficiencies of technology and the impacts they have for your business. Establishing toll-free numbers for workers is one such consideration that can alleviate stress and promote productivity. Another is data protection and integrity which can impede the progression of normalcy after a crisis if there are no backups or means of retaining vital systems. Not considering the ramifications of data loss will only cause further interruptions and issues down the line such as, revenue loss, longer downtime, and potential security breaches. When running through your BCP and formulating contingencies it’s best to consult your IT department or a professional to ensure you have all systems set up in an optimal way to combat avoidable problems during an unforeseen event.

6)    Leaving It to One & One Alone

Having more sets of eyes on anything is beneficial, particularly in the planning of unforeseen issues and developing contingencies therein. Taking on the task of formulating a BCP alone is applaudable, but it runs the risk of having inaccuracies or errors contained within it. One way to mitigate this is to involve key players in all departments of your company to have a say or input into the BCP from the beginning. You’ll gain insight into situations you may not have considered, and you get more than one eye on the ball which will serve as bolstering the reliability of the finished BCP. Consider forming a committee or team dedicated to the creation of the BCP, this will streamline your entire process and allow more input, better understanding, and a stronger foundation across the board.

7)    Broad Strokes Instead of Details

Concise and precise language is necessary when it comes to an efficient BCP. Using too many generalizations and blanket points can lead to more confusion and more downtime in the long run. Breaking down the BCP into digestible, detailed, and understandable steps will assist in removing any confusion in the minds of your workers should an event occur.

8)    Not Considering Risk Assessment

Having completed risk assessments are crucial in the planning stages of your BCP. Not only do these ensure that you have considered all external and internal parameters to base the intricacies of your BCP on, but also the unique aspects that impact your particular organization (size, location, geographic variables etc.). An in-depth, considered, and comprehensive Business Continuity Plan is instrumental in keeping disasters from impeding the health and safety of workers and allows your business to bounce back efficiently. Avoid the above mistakes to ensure that you have every base covered. If you need assistance with your current BCP, or have questions about what you should/should not include – get in touch with us today!