This is the first of three installments of our business resiliency best practices, covering responses to an active crisis. Part two will address components of a post-crisis recovery. Part three will outline preparedness elements to have in place before a crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities of organizations to withstand a major business interruption. While a global pandemic is certainly a unique circumstance – never before have so many businesses and individuals globally faced the same existential crisis – the likelihood of another interruption is a matter of when, and not if it will occur.
When a crisis transpires, an organization’s response must address the crisis while preventing negative reputational impacts, protecting current and future business deals, and sustaining employee morale. Guide your business toward resiliency by implementing the items outlined.
CRISIS RESPONSE CHECKLIST
Implement Your Playbook | Review your Office Playbook, which establishes a Crisis Response Team team and outlines their responsibilities. Adjust your action plan as needed for your particular business interruption, then put your team to work.
Overcommunicate | Manage expectations with frequent updates to your employees, partners and clients. Be prepared for this communication to take various forms, including phone calls, text messages, emails, and videoconferencing.
Personnel Check-ins | Check in with your employees and discuss their condition – mentally, physically, and professionally. You may need to change the way you typically implement standard workplace policies to address individual needs. Encourage employees to utilize Employee Assistance Programs (EAPS) or other forms of mental health counseling offered by your health plan.
Confirm Coverage and Compliance | Stay apprised of new and existing state and federal regulations and contact service providers to ensure compliance. Simultaneously, communicate with your broker to assess proper insurance coverage.
Address Cyber Threats | Hackers and malicious actors increase their efforts during a crisis, so remind employees at all levels of operation to consult the Cyber Hygiene Playbook.
Assess Financial Health | Communicate frequently with the finance department to ensure the business has adequate cash flow throughout the crisis response. Alternative financing arrangements may be needed depending on the length of the crises, such as tapping a line of credit, reducing executive compensation, or cutting certain expenses.
These six best practices are applicable toward any crisis that threatens business continuity – cyber attack, global pandemic, natural disaster, and others. By implementing these components, your organization will manage the ongoing challenges with agility, until they begin to abate.
Consult our guidelines for recovery to help your organization navigate the process of getting back to business as usual.