The ongoing coronavirus crisis has compelled organizations of every size to revisit their emergency response plans and business continuity playbooks. The need of the hour is a much broader, holistic approach to business continuity which focuses on organization-wide resilience to respond and adapt to the situation.
In this regard, Raconteur came up with a collection of high-impact research data revealing the factors influencing business continuity in the current and future business landscape. The following are some of the key highlights of the report:
The seamless rollout of BCP plans has been a challenge
While the global economic meltdown of the last decade caused shock waves in the business world, nothing could have prepared organisations for the speed, scale and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was compounded by the fact that the majority didn’t have a robust business continuity plan.
According to a Mercer survey, 24% of businesses surveyed in February were in the process of developing a business continuity plan for the first time as a response to the pandemic. Also, in a different survey, 21% of the respondents revealed in June that they were lacking a proper pandemic response plan. This clearly indicates the need for robust risk mitigation strategies to avoid the impact of any crises in future.
Supply chain continuity plans require more focus
Supply chain operations have taken a massive hit owing to stringent country lockdown measures, international border controls and so on. Research reveals that there were glaring loopholes in supply chain continuity plans as well, which resulted in such widespread disruption.
According to a 2020 report from the Business Continuity Institute, 45% of businesses declared that their BCP plans were not sufficient to cover supply chain issues arising because of the pandemic and another 3.5% reported that they didn’t have any plan in place.
Until recently, business continuity planning has been optional in supplier evaluation programs, rarely monitored or audited by hiring companies. Research shows that it is now critical for companies to make business continuity planning a mandatory requirement for their key suppliers.
Return to work can be a tricky affair
A large number of workers returning to the workplace would pose a significant risk of a repeat outbreak. The more workers, the higher the risk of contagion.
Going forward, companies therefore, need to have a clear return-to-work roadmap involves gradually reintroducing workers into the workplace, redesigning the workplace setup, and reviewing hygiene procedures. The good news is that companies are planning to take several steps while transitioning back to work.
According to the International SOS 2020 survey, a whopping 60% of businesses are planning to update their business continuity plans and protocols to ensure a smooth transition to work. Another 50% and 44% of businesses have declared that they are eager to invest in fit-for-work health screening and mental health support respectively to ensure employee wellness in a post-COVID business landscape.
Empathy and compassion can be the game-changer
Businesses have had to make tough decisions to comply with national and international requirements to control the spread of COVID-19. The radical shift in the work culture, coupled with disrupted supply chains and dwindling revenue, has compromised the survival of many organisations.
More than ever, business leaders’ decisions are under a lot of scrutiny by the public. What has emerged as a key differentiator in businesses’ reputation is their capacity to empathise with their employees.
For instance, JD Wetherspoon was criticized by customers for furloughing its workforce despite an annual turnover of around USD 2.36 billion in 2019. In the post-pandemic era, organizations that exhibited empathy and compassion towards their employees are likely to be rewarded in the form of an expanded customer base and increased staff loyalty.
Data use maturity is still low
The significance of data in taking predictive and informed business decisions has been a key topic for more than a decade. However, a recent study was conducted on 1350 organizations worldwide and found that found that only 11% of organizations could be classified as ‘data innovators’ – those with the strongest emphasis on data and an advanced strategy to churn business value from it.
Only German and US organisations have the highest number of data innovators, well above the global average. A staggering 84% of the organisations surveyed are either in the early phase of data strategy implementation – data deliberators – or have considerable scope for improvement – data adopters.
Organizations that didn’t have a sound data strategy before the pandemic have been struggling to understand the data they have and its applicability to informed decision-making, which is the key to steering the business to success during and after this crisis.
For more strategic data and insights on business continuity and supply chain planning, download the full report here.