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Business Continuity Planning

HR in the Modern World – Business Continuity is an HR Challenge

Even since 9/11 and the London bombings severe weather, flooding, terrorist alerts, even transport strikes have threatened the ability of organisations to operate effectively. The HR profession is increasingly expected to be a part of an organisation’s resilience to these events. As custodians of that all-important employee data, and with responsibilities that extend to all the human aspects of an organisational crisis, HR need much more than call-trees as their response.

The threat of terrorism in the form of chemical, biological, radiological, even nuclear events has been enough to make even hoaxes and ‘near-misses’ enough to initiate large-scale responses, organisationally or geographically which, in themselves, have been hugely disruptive to British business and the supply of public services. The prospect of an avian influenza outbreak has exercised the creative minds of contingency planners across all agencies of the government and industry for over 5 years now.

HR and business continuity professions are at a major crossroads. Both must be able to work effectively with other related disciplines, as well as directly with your employees. As an HR professional, you may have the uncomfortable feeling that your procedures and supporting systems might not stand up to a real test: What do you do if the data you hold on those employees is key to the entire Business Continuity plans of the organisation?

It is a good time to think again about HR’s part in ensuring your organisation is resilient to a crisis.

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To talk to us about how we might help you with the HR aspects of Business Continuity ring : 0870 366 2300.

HR's Role in Business Continuity Diagram

business continuity diagram

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Business Continuity Automation

Business Continuity

HR is often overlooked as a Business Continuity resource. Yet it is a critical component in the Business Continuity plan and process.

Automated systems can be immediately put to task, which can contact personnel via multiple methods - e-mail, landline and mobile phone (both voice alert and text), and can provide a record of contact attempts and the results of those attempts. To save time in an urgent situation a system should allow users to use preset messages (pre-planned for such an event) to be sent out, yet also allow live creation - to create new messages -as required.Still, electronic options are only as good as the information fed to them. HR must maintain an accurate and complete list of personnel with multiple, current means of contacting them. Good HR IT systems will be a single ‘source of the truth’ for this information. But it goes further: line-management and reporting structures are invariably held within a good HR solution. Next of Kin details, working location and shift patterns are also extremely valuable when you are setting about alerting the relevant employees and managers about events - capturing feedback on the impacts on them and feeding all the responses into your Business Continuity processes in response to that event.

Unlike humans, who might have to prioritise other emergency duties over working through call trees, automated broadcast systems provide extremely rapid, concurrent outbound alerts and warnings, whilst automatically collating the responses from text , voice, email or web portals to serve up live updates to all relevant stakeholders. Often HR play a very large part in dealing with the human aspects of the crisis. The live information being fed through helps HR communicate to the organisation, and to focus it’s skills and efforts where it is needed most.

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To talk to us about how we might help you with the HR aspects of Business Continuity ring : 0870 366 2300.

Business Continuity Resources

IBM have published a compelling white paper and released a podcast on the hot topic of Business Continuity Planning.

"The Human Side of Continuity Planning" white paper can be downloaded from their website free of charge - simply follow the link below to their article.

Download White Paper

The British Standards Institute have developed a Business Continuity standard BS 25999 Business Continuity, so that organisations can gain an accreditation that proves they have designed and implemented a suitable Business Continuity Planning process. The certification details can be found on their site - click here for details.


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To talk to us about how we might help you with the HR aspects of Business Continuity ring : 0870 366 2300.