Author: Gary Hibberd
Date: 19th May 2020
This year’s theme for the Business Continuity Institutes’ Business Continuity Awareness Week (BCAW 2020) is ‘We are Stronger Together.” An apt title for a world where we are working apart and a vast majority are in isolation (either real or perceived).
The BCAW also falls on the same week as Mental Health Awareness Week, with the theme being ‘Kindness Matters’. Again, this is much needed in a world where people are feeling isolated (either real or perceived).
Within the context of cybersecurity, I’ve worked in the field of Business Continuity for a very long time, and I recall saying to people around 10 years ago that we need to move the language away from technical recovery, through to organisational resilience.
What I mean by this is that we need to stop focusing on technology as the ‘silver bullet’ when it comes to recovery of an organisation during a crisis. I am pleased to see this shift happen over the last couple of years, and I’m especially pleased to hear people talk about organisational resilience in association with human resilience.
It seems we finally recognise something that I’ve said for many years; If your systems are up, but your people are down – do you really have a recovery plan at all?
Of course, for many years, we’ve discussed the importance of Business Continuity; Having plans for a range of scenarios or events which may impact our businesses. But thankfully, many have moved beyond the recovery of critical IT systems, and are focusing on critical resources. This, of course, means people.
An organisation needs to be resilient to fast or slow-moving changes, that may affect any critical aspect of the business, and this includes people.
What we need to do now
Right now, my advice to all businesses is to ensure you have good communication channels in your business; Both internally and externally. You need to be communicating with your clients and suppliers, and you need to be talking to your own teams too (let’s call these collectively ‘Stakeholders’).
A lack of information simply leaves people to come up with their own conclusions about what is going on. Remove that doubt, and you remove fear and uncertainty.
Irrespective of the size of your organisation, communicating in this day-and-age has never been easier. Think about how you’ll communicate, when and what.
Pull a team from across the organisation to help you formulate your message, and if you’re spread geographically, this may mean multiple teams.
Think about the welfare of your teams and the concerns that they have; Are they the same as yours? Possibly. But recognise that every employee is an individual, with individual concerns, individual anxieties and individual situations. What you think may be on their minds, may not be correct.
Finally, recognise the need for this concern around your management team. It’s easy to forget that it’s “lonely at the top”. Making tough decisions in an uncertain world is not easy, so check-in on your CTO, COO, Head of HR etc. They may be feeling anxious, too, added to which may be feelings of guilt for having to let people go.
Testing time for HR Professionals
I truly believe this will be one of the most challenging times for HR professionals, and I fear many will be found wanting.
Organisations have suddenly(?) realised that they can’t operate effectively without people; Something that HR professionals have known for a long time, and seems quite apparent. But now that the C-suite has recognised this, how do we ensure we cater for the range of emotions, and emotional responses to this crisis, and the recovery?
Conclusion; We’re stronger together
I believe only by pulling together as a business, as a community and as professionals in resilience will we get through this effectively; Remembering that Human resilience is an integral part of Organisational Resilience.
It’s true what they say; We are stronger together. Let’s leave no one behind, and let’s help in this recovery.
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