To navigate the COVID-19 situation and mitigate its impact on your organization, there are four key steps to focus on:
If you don’t have a formal pandemic response plan and a way of enhancing and building on it, that is the first step. You should enact a plan of action as soon as possible based on best practices for managing through a pandemic. Start with the template in the Pandemic Readiness Toolkit – Powered by Fusion and then customize it to fit your unique situation. To get the most out of it, consider using a system that lets you deploy the plan quickly and grow and evolve it in real-time as you learn from your actions and from the changing situation. But even without a system in place, the best practices contained in the plan template will be a great place to start.
Second, understand your organization by gathering information now. As the pandemic’s impact unfolds, you need to see where your risks lie, so you can make better decisions on how to mitigate the most important risks to your most critical processes. You must monitor the situation daily as well as continue to be proactive in how you manage risks, so you can keep employees safe and deliver on your obligations. The best practice is to capture your processes and all dependencies in a system that lets you visualize and explore the weak points. Then, you should conduct business impact assessments and risk assessments so you can get your risk management and business continuity teams working closely now and in the future. If you are leveraging traditional means like Word documents and Excel spreadsheets, you can still start today by capturing as much information as you can. The data gathered will help you to be proactive now and will be a good foundation when you move to a formal system.
Third, create a plan to restore operations when the pandemic subsides. Don’t wait until the last possible moment to create a restoration plan. Consider the steps you will need based on the impacts you are seeing now. How will you restore operations? How will you manage the backlog of work? Will you need to re-staff and rehire? What steps will be required to reengage the workforce? Will the business environment have shifted requiring more significant changes? How will you change your supply chain to be more prepared? Using best practices from an experienced advisory team and a system built on information that can also drive action, you will have the tools to enable a successful restoration to the new normal.
Fourth, after the crisis has passed, you must perform a thorough debrief of the whole situation and assess the need to evolve your business model as a new normal unfolds. Throughout this pandemic, you should be tracking what your organization is doing, so you can make improvements later. Furthermore, you must determine how to avoid significant risk in the future. Your organization can do this by not only being better prepared for operational challenges created by a pandemic or other risks to operations, but also by adapting your business model quickly so you can survive and thrive with less risk. This process should end with building an action plan with deadlines. If organizations fail to do so, they often tend to go straight back to business and the opportunity to apply lessons learned slides by. Again, understanding your processes and how your business operates can be more efficient with a system that integrates all areas of operational resilience and has the tools you need to make the right decisions.
Check out the Resilience Toolkit for more tips and best practices. Or, contact Fusion at any time to talk to one of our experts about your specific needs. If you want more pandemic related insights, check out Tips and Tricks for Working from Home or COVID-19: A Crisis Every CEO Must Address.