Would your business survive if up to half of your employees were absent?
The Arcus Business Continuity Planning strategy includes:
- Establishment of a steering committee or lead individual
- Business impact analysisBusiness continuity contingency plan
- Readiness procedures
- Quality assurance
These topics are further explained below:
1. Establishment of a steering committee or lead individual
The first step in the planning process is to establish a Steering Committee or designate an individual to oversee, support, and direct the development of a business continuity plan. This includes:
- providing strategic direction and communicating essential messages
- approving the results of the business impact analysis
- reviewing critical services
- approving continuity plans and arrangements
2. Business impact analysis
The business impact analysis provides the organization with a list of critical services and identifies how disruptions will affect internal and external stakeholders. The analysis involves several steps, including:
A review the mandate of your organization and determine which services must continue during an emergency for each service, identify the impact of a disruption and the length of time the organization or the community could function without the service and additional expenses that arise due to the loss of service and intangible expenses such as loss of image or reputation. This will also require identification of any insurance requirementsA rank of the critical services according to the severity of impact a disruption would cause, time required to recover from the disruption
Identification of internal and external requirements for providing the internal services (employee availability, equipment, facilities, vehicles, etc.) and external services (suppliers, utilities, transportation, etc.)
3. Business continuity contingency plan
A business continuity plan should be created for each critical service identified in the business impact analysis. The business continuity plan is a detailed list of response and recovery activities and arrangements to ensure that all necessary actions are taken to provide services during an emergency. In planning for service continuity, Arcus will:
identify risks that might threaten the service and develop methods to eliminate or reduce the riskanalyze current recovery capabilities and review current recovery plans
create business continuity plans that can be changed as the severity of the emergency changes; plans should be based on the most realistic and effective option
4. Readiness procedures
The key to any business continuity plan is to ensure that the staff carrying out the plan have been properly trained and that the plan’s readiness has been tested. This means briefing all staff on the contents of the plan and their roles in the event of an emergency and ensuring that managers or staff with specific functions outlined in the plan are trained in those functions and conducting exercises to ensure a high level of competence and readiness
5. Quality assurance
The business continuity plan should be reviewed regularly to identify opportunities for improvement and to ensure that it meets any new demands of the organization or addresses emerging risks. Arcus will implement business continuity planning strategies recommended by the WHO and Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada.
Changes in staffing and redeployment
High rates of absenteeism may result in changes to staffing, chains of command, hours of work, or employee responsibilities. Organizations should discuss these implications with employees, unions, and human resources staff before an emergency begins. During an emergency, organizations may delegate new job functions to employees or move employees to other job sites where they are most needed.
Human resources policies
All workplaces should develop alternate human resource policies for a pandemic emergency to address the following issues.
During an influenza pandemic, Arcus will advise ill people to stay home. However, attendance management policies may create barriers to staff staying home. For example, your organization may require employees to obtain physician notes following a certain number of consecutive days of absence due to illness. During an influenza pandemic the health care system may be overwhelmed with people seeking necessary medical attention. Requests for physician notes will contribute to the demands on the health care sector unnecessarily. Current policies that may pose a barrier to effective disease control and prevention should be suspended or revised as appropriate.
Ill employees at work
During a pandemic, some employees will develop symptoms of influenza while at work. These individuals should immediately leave the workplace to help slow the transmission of the virus. Ill employees should be requested by their manager or supervisor to leave work even if they do not have sick day credits. Organizations will need to address the issue of compensation for this type of situation. Directions on when employees who are recovering from influenza illness can return to work will change depending on the characteristics of the flu virus causing the pandemic. This guidance will be widely publicized once a pandemic occurs.
Most organizations may not have solutions to these issues so it is critical that emergency response plans are implemented effectively and efficiently. During a pandemic, work schedules may have to be changed. In planning for these changes, organizations must consider the implications of:
- shift changes and changes to hours of workcompensation and scheduling of overtime
- the need to assign the most qualified employees to specific tasks
- training employees for newly assigned work
- provision of food to employees
- parking requirements or reimbursement for transportation expenses
- scheduling of breaks