I thought today, I would look at Business Continuity Planning ( BCP’s), as every business should have a documented plan in place, and one of the main reasons why we document it, is so everyone knows the processes and procedures once something occurs, whether it is a small fire in the kitchen, a flood, a wildfire in the area, a machine failing, and one of the other reasons we do one, is for Managers to evaluate and think about the risks associated with their business.
Whilst we might be good at including the items we use every day in a risk assessment and documenting in our BCP, e.g. like computers, electricity, phone/communications, the areas we probably don’t think about a lot, includes
- Transport- e.g. how does someone get to work, train, tram, bus, car, etc.
- Staff, employees- e.g. if they can’t work.
In this blog, I want to look at the employee’s side of our BCP and risk assessment.
It is probably not a big issue within a large company, however as a small business operator, it can be difficult to function when you lost 1-2 employee’s for a few days, or how frustrating it is when one employee resigns and has left before you find a replacement, as then you either need to go back to doing their role as well or hope one of the other employees within the business to do their role as well until the new employee starts.
However, as Business owners or even HR Managers, we need to consider how is the business operations going to function, if someone is off work for a week, or even a month or so, Holidays are not too bad as at times we have time to plan how you are going to cope when a particular employee goes away, or we might limit their holiday time, e.g 2 weeks at a time instead of the whole 4 which would be agreeable to both parties. However, the question is what do we do if an employee is sick or needs time off to look after a family member, how do we function and continue to operate as close as possible to normal without it interfering with the work, and therefore minimizing the effect on the outcomes for the client/customer.
The option we need to consider is winter, and the flu season, how do we function if 50% of the staff are off work on sick leave, it can be difficult when they have the flu to expect staff to work from home, although is your business set up for staff to work remotely. Employing breaking a bone and may be off work for 4-6 weeks, or a medical condition and they need 6-8 weeks off.
One of the ways we can minimize the effect it would have on the Business, is to ensuring during the recruitment processes we consider employing staff with multiple skills set, e.g. experience in different fields of a business rather than someone who only knows one area, therefore as long as they are not the sick ones, then they can help with other projects in the business.
Other ways to solve the problem, which can be included in the BCP when something does occur, does your industry have an agency workforce, e.g. Health Sector there can sometimes be Nursing agencies that can supply staff for short term and long term requirements as required, although not available in all areas. Is there a way you can use contractors, to help you out in the interim, do you have competitors who might be able to assist you in the interim, and are they trustworthy not to take your clients? I am mentioning these now, so you have time to assess your risks and then talk to others and ensure the contracts, agreements are in place, should you ever need them. This month is the time to assess, review, evaluate your business, and ensure you understand and know how you will respond should something happen.
However, like anything, being proactive instead of reactive in business can help, e.g. how can you minimize the chance of staff falling sick and therefore needing time off, although not all illnesses can be prevented. Think about the sort of programs you can implement into your business, to help support the well-being of your employees.
- Arranging Flu shots and other immunizations suitable for your staff.
- Massage and other relaxation programs for staff.
- Yoga, or fitness, stretching sessions for staff
- Basic counseling sessions for staff
- Weekly or monthly sessions between Management and staff to discuss their well being, including their stress levels and workload, and see how you can reduce this
- Implement a 4.5 day week for staff
The important aspect is to ensure employees are included in your BCP as they can be a risk to your business, think about what effect can they have on your operations, and how can you eliminate the risks, and support your staff in any way possible to help with their wellbeing and support. Ensure you find ways to support your Staff, before something goes wrong, although it is good to support them when something goes wrong, it is still good to be there for them as often as possible and as soon as they become employees of the company.