Creating A Business Response Plan For The Pandemic Era

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Resilience is the key to survival for businesses during crisis situations. But you cannot expect traditional resilience planning to be enough for countering the pandemic’s impact.

Right now, you need an action-oriented business response plan to keep your organization afloat amid the crisis. Moreover, the business response plan shouldn’t just address survival issues but also focus on driving growth in the post-pandemic era. 

However, this is easier said than done, considering the global economic downturn and widespread disruption of processes and supply chains.

The pandemic’s impact on the global economy may worsen ahead, so the best thing you can do is to have a proactive business response plan in place. Here are the steps that can steer your company in the right direction.

1. Prioritize the well-being and safety of employees

Employee well-being and safety should be the top priority for any organization during a pandemic.

Unless people are confident about their safety, they will be unable to focus on work and keep their processes on track. Ideally, you need to monitor the situation continuously and realign your work plan and business processes accordingly. 

Risk coverage for your employees is vital as it fosters trust and loyalty. The objective should be to provide a safe workplace for your team and also offer them the support they need.

Even if you let them work from home to protect them from infection, there is a need to pay attention to their mental health. Once they are back at the office, ensure that all the safety and hygiene guidelines are looked after.

2. Focus on a customer engagement plan

Pandemic Business Response Plan 2020: Free 6 Step GuideWhile employee wellness is one pillar of business resilience during the pandemic, customer engagement is the other.

Right now, you can expect a massive change in customer behavior, preferences, and expectations. Understanding them thoroughly and staying one step ahead of them is the key to engagement.

Engaged customers to keep your business going because they stay with you, promote your brand, and come back in the future as well. 

When it comes to engagement, nothing is more important than positive and reassuring messaging right now. Realigning your products and services to match their requirements is another good approach.

Also, you need to be transparent and honest with the customers, giving them timely updates about your reopening plans and implementation of safety measures. 

3. Invest in infrastructure to support remote work 

Right now, remote work seems to be the best option to limit exposure for your team and break the chain of the virus.

Several big names are actually considering work from home as a long term arrangement because the pandemic is expected to stay around for some time. This is a good time to invest in remote infrastructure and capabilities because they can be of use in the long run.

If you use Mac for your enterprise, you are in luck because the OS supports remote working pretty well. It is secure and feature-rich, in addition to being easy to manage.

Train your employees to upgrade the OS and applications and use apps such as cleanmymac to keep the systems in an optimal condition. Apart from choosing the right hardware, you also need to invest in remote collaboration tools as a part of your response plan.

4. Develop a robust communication strategy 

Besides empowering your team for remote operations, you also need to have a robust communication strategy in place. Staying in touch matters a lot in the era of social isolation as it keeps people motivated.

Needless to say, seamless communication keeps teams at their productive best, no matter whether they work from a single location or are miles apart. In fact, it becomes all the more important to keep the remote employees in sync.

When it comes to communication strategies, they should extend to your customers as well. Effective communications right now are crucial to boost employee morale and confidence, maintain customer trust, and retain market stability.

In the current scenario, you need to go the extra mile to be always available and consistent with customer interactions. The messaging across all channels of communication must reconcile, be it social media, public relations releases, or customer call centers. 

5. Assess your reliance on third parties 

When you are in the center of a storm like this one, the role of external support becomes all the more important. For this reason, you need to assess the level of reliance on third parties at this point in time and in the near future.

These include the outsourced vendors, suppliers, cloud service providers, data processors, payment processors, and logistics partners. Like your company, they are equally vulnerable to pandemic events. 

So it makes sense to understand their resilience programs and develop alternatives in case they fail to sustain. After all, if a critical third party is unable to deliver services in the pandemic, your business can face a setback.

It would be wise to have a plan B in place to address such events if they happen in the coming time. This will keep your business safe; no matter how much it depends on the sustainability of third party providers.

6. Establish a crisis management process 

Pandemic Business Response Plan 2020: Free 6 Step GuideThe pandemic is nothing like anything else you may have come across till now, so the circumstances can be exceptional at present. These may require you to deviate from the standard procedures and policies to align with the needs of the customers and employees.

For example, some organizations that had never imagined working on the remote model were made to switch suddenly and are doing pretty well now. You need to establish a crisis management process to define how things would go during the actual crisis.

As a part of the response plan, you may have to expand on the existing human resources, legal, operations, finance, and business processes to align with the critical exceptions. Communicate the revised policies and processes clearly to the employees, vendors, customers, and partners.

The potential changes to current policies should be carefully reviewed with the risk management and compliance perspectives as well.

Although creating a pandemic response plan for your business may require a great deal of effort, it can be totally worthwhile. If you haven’t implemented such a business response plan yet, you must do it sooner rather than later.

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