Job share – advantages for Business Continuity

Companies have many different reasons to explore job sharing options in the current economic climate. They may be responding to employee requests, layoff options or reducing the cost of benefits. From a business continuity management perspective, job sharing has some clear advantages.

Job sharing is basically when two employees share one work week. While the company is still only paying one salary, they have two employees who are trained to cover the position. Often these two employees have little or no overlap time. In other words, they are rarely in the same place at the same time.

Redundancy

Business Continuity planners are often faced with finding a way to replace employees who are no longer available due to the impact of a disaster.  This could involve searching for someone inside or outside the company who has the knowledge and skills to perform the job during a crisis.

Simplicity

Job sharing makes this search simple.  As these employees are rarely at work at the same time, they are less likely to have both been impacted by an incident at your facility.

Employees, who witness a traumatic event, even if not physically impacted, can have their productivity impacted by the experience.  Again, having a second trained employee to fill in immediately after the event can maintain the efficiency of the organization.

Recovery Time

Setting up the recovery site and getting the systems back on-line can lead to overtime and a worn out staff.  Again, job sharing can alleviate this issue as each member of the job share is assigned extra hours. One person attempting a 12 hour shift will be less effective than two working 6 hours each.

Good Will

When employers have demonstrated a willingness to accommodate employees work/life balance needs under normal conditions, employees may be more willing to work during extraordinary events out of loyalty to the organization.

While your employees and organization will need to examine the consequences of job sharing before making the move, I believe that it is important not to forget business continuity management as one of the benefits to this type of work arrangement.

Is there a link between business continuity planning / management and insurance premiums?

An underwriter takes many aspects of your risk into consideration when they establish an insurance premium.  Basically, what they do is establish a base rate for your class of business and then apply discounts and penalties which rank you relative to other businesses within your class.

For some classes of business, a business continuity plan in required by regulations or level of risk. The banking industry is an example. The form that you complete should have a box that reads “Business Continuity Plan” that you check off yes or no.  If you check no, your premium will be higher than others in your class. You will be penalized.

If business continuity plans are not required, the underwriting form which you complete may not have a box to check off indicating that you have a plan.  Therefore, if you do not have one you will not be penalized.

But remember, underwriters have leeway to apply justifiable discounts to those risks that are best in class! A business with a continuity plan demonstrates to the underwriter that your company:

  • Has performed a risk assessment and therefore has taken steps to understand and control standard industry risks
  • Has an understanding of how they will resume their operations reducing risk of an expensive business interruption claim
  • Will be able to contact the insurance company quickly after an incident

An underwriter can not apply discounts unless they are aware that you have a plan. If your company does not have a risk manager, be sure that you speak to your insurance broker about your continuity plan.  You may even want to share some aspects of the program with your underwriter, such as your awareness program and exercise schedule.   A solid business continuity program could help improve your ranking within your class and your insurance premium will be discounted accordingly.

Reports of a SARS-like killer respiratory disease should spark pandemic plan update

The World Health Organization is not ready to issue any special instructions related to this coronavirus that has appeared in Saudi Arabia.  “As with any new virus, this is of concern to us and we’re watching it very closely,” WHO spokesperson Gregory Hartl said Sunday.

As a business continuity planner, I recommend that businesses, governments and other organizations take the opportunity, right now, to update their pandemic plans.

Today, while it is making news, pull the plan up:

  • Review and correct names and contact information
  • Review list of back-up
  • Review list of priorities
  • Send out your requests for information
  • Find out if your ability to work from home has changed
  • Remind your colleagues of the plan and ask for a review
  • Ask for a meeting to discuss running an exercise or formal awareness program

Take the time to do this when people are thinking about communicable disease and the impact of SARS.  This coronavirus may amount to nothing more than “a blip on the radar” but it should give you a push to get your plans updated.

For more information on reduced workforce planning, please visit our website www.pandemicplanning.ca

Improve Your Risk Evaluation and Control tip #10 – keep it confidential

You have taken considerable time and effort to discover and document all of your companies vulnerabilities. Criminals or even your competition might be able to exploit this information.

Tip #10 Label and treat the risk evaluation as confidential or privileged information

For those in government organizations the risk evaluation should be protected from any ATIP requests.  To avoid lawsuits and other issues, legal council should advise private companies on treatment of the highly sensitive information in the risk report and their due diligence responsibilities.

The information gathered during the risk evaluation and control phase will be used to inform many of the latter stages of your program.  A summary of the top ten risks should be presented to those participating in the business impact analysis to give them an understanding of how operations would most likely be disrupted. The risk evaluation should be validated annually.  The business continuity management maintenance program should also include a risk evaluation of any major new project undertaken by the organization.

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice One – Program Initiation and Management DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

Next week features blogs on insurance and business continuity…

Improve Your Risk Evaluation and Control tip #9 – final ranking

Remember the purpose of Risk evaluation and control is to allow the organization to focus on high probability and high impact events to identify where controls, mitigations or management processes are non-existent, weak or ineffective. Therefore, the top risks should influence risk management policy. The length of the list should be influenced by both your company’s size, risk appetite and the maturity of your business continuity management program. Your first key risk list may be only 3 to five key risks.  A risk averse large federal department might have a list of 50 key risks.

Tip #9 Give senior management final risk ranking approval

It is best to provide your senior management with a quick presentation of the key risks before submitting the final evaluation.  Senior management may disagree with your evaluation or have additional “big picture” information to add. This can also prepare them for risk control recommendations that will appear in the final report.

Your risk assessment report to senior management should include the methodology, the risk chart, a list of your organization’s top risks (within the scope of your assessment), and any recommendations for loss control measures including your cost benefit analysis of these measures.

Return tomorrow for our final tip on risk evaluation and control…

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice One – Program Initiation and Management DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

 

Improve Your Risk Evaluation and Control tip #8 – cost analysis

Once you have compiled a list of risk categories and exposures from both internal and external sources, each possible event should be rated according to the probability that it will occur and what possible impact it could have on your organization.

Be sure to define your rating terms. For example:

Probability is the likelihood of this event impacting our organization in the next 10 years.

Severity is the maximum financial loss to our organization that could be caused by this event.

The size and complexity of your organization will determine how you develop the rating system.  A small simple organization should use a simple rating system such as this:

Probability Severity
1 Low 01% to 35% 1 Low Up to   $99,999
2 Medium 36%   to 70% 2 Medium $100,000 to   $999,999
3 High 71%   to 99% 3 High Over   $1,000,000

A larger, more complex organization might want to have a more layered approach:

Probability
1 Low Up to 35%
2 Medium 36% to 59%
3 High 60% to 79%
4 Very High Over 80%
Severity
1 Low Up to   $99,999
2 Medium $100,000 to   $999,999
3 High $1,000,000   to $9,999,999
4 Very High $10,000,000 to 99,999,999
5   Catastrophic Over   $100,000,000

Always use both words and numbers to quantify the exposures/risks.  Risks should be ranked according to their risk number (probability multiplied by severity) and charted on a graph that clearly indicates all risk/exposures outside of the entities risk tolerance. Rating of the risks can be done by a small group of key personnel or a larger survey. The larger survey can also be used to identify loss controls and safeguards.

Tip #8 Rank recommendations for prevention measures in order of cost-effectiveness

More expensive loss control measures should be submitted to upper management with cost analysis and your recommendations based upon the level of risk to the organization.

Return tomorrow for our next tip…

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice One – Program Initiation and Management DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

Improve Your Risk Evaluation and Control tip #7 – discretionary fund

Identifying new risks and additional controls can provide visible and evident benefits to the organization but can initially seem daunting.  By following these tips, you can expedite this step and grow your network while enhancing your organization’s defences.

Tip #7 Arrange a small fund to deal with low-cost control measures

Depending upon the culture of your organization, you might want to arrange in advance for a small discretionary fund (small relative to the size of your organization) to be used for low-cost loss control measures uncovered by your team. By avoiding red tape and company politics, you are able to quickly demonstrate to employees a corporate commitment to risk control.  This should increase their willingness to provide your group with accurate risk information. Your final recommendations will not be cluttered with these low-cost control measures.

Return tomorrow for our next tip…

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice One – Program Initiation and Management DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

Improve Your Risk Evaluation and Control #6 – outsourcing

Identifying new risks and additional controls can provide visible and evident benefits to the organization but can initially seem daunting.  By following these tips, you can expedite this step and grow your network while enhancing your organization’s defences.

Tip #6 Examine risks from outsourced activities

Globalization can provide cost savings but can also expose your organization to many hidden risks.  Do not overlook the threats to overseas outsourced services or key suppliers.  Some categories of risk such as war, terrorism and political risks are more frequent in some areas.  You should be aware of these risks and monitor them.

Ideally, you should review the business continuity plan for their facility and obtain a copy of their risk assessment before the contract is signed.  Monitor their BC program and ensure that the plans are being exercised.

Return tomorrow for our next tip…

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice One – Program Initiation and Management DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

Improve Your Risk Evaluation and Control tip #5 – loss experience research

Identifying new risks and additional controls can provide visible and evident benefits to the organization but can initially seem daunting.  By following these tips, you can expedite this step and grow your network while enhancing your organization’s defences.

In addition to creating organization-wide methods of information collection and distribution, you may want to add these research methods to your information gathering activities.

Tip #5 Conduct research on historical experience of similar organizations

Most organizations are not unique.  Devote some time to researching the historical loss history of organizations similar to your own. Your insurance professionals can also provide insight. Insurance companies track loss data according to industry. Professional associations, trade shows, and the chamber of commerce might provide some industry risk information as well as a forum to discuss loss experience with colleagues. While direct competitors may not be forthcoming, others in your industry may also provide information on their incidents.

Return Monday for our next tip…

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice One – Program Initiation and Management DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

Improve Your Risk Evaluation and Control #4 – hazard maps

Identifying new risks and additional controls can provide visible and evident benefits to the organization but can initially seem daunting.  By following these tips, you can expedite this step and grow your network while enhancing your organization’s defences.

In addition to creating organization-wide methods of information collection and distribution, you may want to add these research methods to your information gathering activities.

Tip #4 Analyze risk data from hazard maps

Economical online hazard maps are available usually on a regional or national scale.  More detailed hazard maps and further risk information should be available from local municipalities.  Take this opportunity to connect with the local officials involved with emergency management. Business continuity planners may be well aware of local risks but when you have locations spread across the country or around the world, these maps can be extremely valuable.

Insurers and re-insurers (I recommend SwissRe) provide valuable free information online about current and emerging risks. It is worth taking some time to review the information that may be relevant to your organization.

Some samples of hazard maps online

Natural Hazard Map of Canada, Alberta Flood Hazard Map, Aon Political Risk Map, Swiss Re Flood Risk App for iPad

Return tomorrow for our next tip…

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice One – Program Initiation and Management DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

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