A continuity plan identifies methods a company will use to continue operations after being affected by a major event. Such events can be of any type, including a pandemic flu, natural disaster, theft of private business information or a fire. Specifically, the plan details what the company will do to remain in operation after the disaster. The idea is to continue business until normal operating procedures can resume.
Human Resources and a Continuity Plan
Human Resources professionals in an organization play an integral role in the creation of continuity plans, and they should be among the core team called on to enact a plan in the event of a disaster. It's also a good idea for Human Resources to have a separate plan covering:
- What the employees should do
- Where they should go
- What will be expected of them after a disaster.
What to Consider When Creating a Plan
Although each plan should reflect the company's specific human resource reserves and structure, there are four main components to these types of plans. By considering each of these four, business owners and managers will likely cover the majority of their company's needs and be able to develop a sustainable, practicable plan.
1. Responses to the Emergency
This refers to the appropriate responses to different types of emergencies. It should include:
- Identification of who is responsible for calling for emergency help
- How the building should be evacuated
- Where employees should meet after evacuation
- What services the company will provide to injured employees.
2. Pre-Disaster Planning
This includes identifying what the company expects employees to do after the disaster. It details:
- Where employees should show up
- How they will get paid
- What hours they will work
- Where they will work
3. Recovery Procedures
This details procedures by which employees will be notified:
- Normal work procedures are beginning again
- Who will be in charge at that time
- May detail what help the company will continue to give to employees
- What will be expected of employees at different periods of time after the disaster
4. Long-Term Response
This aspect pertains to how the company will respond to the continuing effects of the disaster. For example, it will specify the amount of time employees will be able to take off from work and how much help the company will provide.
Most plans consist of several pages of details on the previously described four aspects. The "Response Checklist" section of this example can be completed with items specific to your business.
Human Resources Continuity Plan for ABC Industries
Background and Aim
The purpose of this Continuity Plan, hereafter referred to as "the Plan," is to provide directions to Human Resources staff, company managers and employees about the policies and procedures for handling a disaster. ABC Industries, hereafter "the Company," considers a disaster to be any national or local event which prevents employees from performing their job duties as described in their job descriptions. The ultimate aim of the Plan is to provide the necessary details to permit the Company to resume normal operations as soon as possible after the event.
General Outline of Response
The Plan comes into effect only after the highest ranking office in the Company's main office at the time of an event declares the event to be a disaster. The officer may declare that one branch or the entire company is affected by the disaster. After declared, the Human Resources Manager will be in charge of implementing and executing the Plan. In the absence of a Human Resources Manager, the highest ranking manager will be responsible.
Once declared, the Human Resources Manager will call for emergency assistance to the appropriate authority and assist employees in evacuating and ensuring that all employees are accounted for. Additional responsibilities include:
The priority of these duties will be determined by the Manager in charge.
(The following sections would contain detailed information and steps in an actual plan.)
- Response Checklist
- Preparedness Procedure
- First Alert Procedures
- Activation Procedures
- Operational Procedures
- Administrative Procedures
Craft your plan to your specific business or industry. After all, a general continuity plan may fail to serve your company in a true emergency. Additionally, consider performing a trial-run to ensure that the planned procedures are feasible.