It’s no secret that successful business continuity management (BCM) requires employee involvement. Not only are critical employees essential for crafting business continuity plans (BCPs), but every other staff member has a role to play in executing them. If the staff doesn’t understand their roles, they can’t fulfill them.
The FFIEC highlights this fact in its Business Continuity Management (BCM) exam handbook, updated November 19, 2019. The booklet provides a step-by-step look at the BCM lifecycle and its 10-step process. Two of the 10 steps directly reference employee training and practice:
Step 7: Implement a business continuity training program for personnel and other stakeholders.
Step 8: Conduct exercises and tests to verify that procedures support established objectives.
Most FIs have programs in place to ensure strong business continuity planning (including human capital resiliency) at every level from the board and senior management to business process owners and frontline personnel. This tailored training covers individual roles and responsibilities as well as institutional goals and policies. It also involves periodic testing to make sure people, processes and technology operate as expected.
But what about new employees?
New employees may be one of the largest, most underrated BCM risks. Here are the five reasons why:
1. The BCP isn’t updated to include new staff.
BCPs identify individuals with specific roles and responsibilities. It also has contact information and contact trees to ensure strong communication even if some channels fail. FIs need to ensure staff information in a BCP is up-to-date and accurate so it can reach the people it needs to reach and ensure the BCP is followed.
Make sure that your FI updates the BCP every time an employee joins or exits the FI. One way to do this is by connecting your BCP with human resources software to ensure employee data is continually updated. (Ncontinuity accomplishes this with an API that directly integrates with HR software.)
2. New staff isn’t trained on BCM.
From basic job functions and compliance to finding the break room, the employee onboarding process is a busy time crammed with learning. BCM may not be top of mind, but it’s important to brief new staff on both the BCM big picture as well as their individual responsibilities otherwise they won’t be prepared for business interruptions like the need to work from home. Make sure human resources includes BCM in its training rubric.
3. Management assumes new staff is prepared after BCM training.
New employees get inundated with training. Even if your FI’s training game is strong, it’s possible that new staff didn’t absorb the information as well as you’d like due to the sheer volume of new things they had to learn.
That’s why it’s important to test their response to make sure they understand. This can be particularly valuable if an employee joins the FI shortly after BCP systems are tested. You may not want to wait a whole year to see if a staffer is up to speed.
4. Overlooking cross-training necessary for the BCM.
It’s one thing for a staffer to know that she’s Sally’s backup if Sally isn’t available. But will that staffer actually be able to step in and fill Sally’s role if necessary? Make sure cross-training is completed, otherwise there could be a big gap in your BCP, especially in critical roles.
5. New staff doesn’t know where to share feedback.
BCM is always evolving. Employee feedback plays an important role, making sure others are aware of changes to programs or processes that may impact BCM. Make sure new staff knows what kind of BCM feedback should be delivered and where it should be sent. Employees can’t make a contribution if they don’t know where to send it.
Don’t let an otherwise strong business continuity plan fail when new employees don’t know what to do. Make sure your FI is proactively educating and testing employees on BCM.