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Will Your Business Continuity Plan Cover Every Eventuality?

The pandemic has proven that organizations have been able to handle a major crisis…or not. If there was another crisis, would you be ready?

Proactive organizations prepare for potential risks that could impact their business. They implement an essential service continuity plan to mitigate the impact and duration of a crisis that could be caused by an unexpected threat or accident. This plan is accompanied by tools and training for work teams.

During the current health crisis, public institutions, in particular, made a tremendous effort to sustain and resume their operations and provide citizens, businesses and the government with the services they needed.

Nearly two years later, a new labour market reality is emerging. Employment and economic growth levels are enviable. A large percentage of the population is vaccinated. Does this mean you are immune to further shocks?

The health crisis is not over yet, and we know that other crises are possible. You need to be prepared for any eventuality in order to reduce the initial impact of a threat to your operations and enhance your ability to take back control of your organization.

Mitigate the effects of a crisis thanks to an essential service continuity plan

When it comes to disasters that can disrupt an organization’s operations, a few examples immediately come to mind: a fire, an earthquake or a pandemic like COVID-19.

However, other events, with varying degrees of risk, can also disrupt your operations, from an Internet outage or environmental disaster to a sudden loss of leadership or large-scale fraud. Think, for example, about what would happen to your business and personal life if you were to go a few days without Internet service. You would instantly run out of information, communication methods and, probably, cash.

Organizations, including public institutions, should therefore not neglect preparing for these different types of events.

The purpose of an essential service continuity plan in the event of a disaster is to:

  • Mitigate the initial impact of the event;
  • Accelerate recovery and reduce the timeline for a return to normality.

How can this be accomplished? The short answer: imagine the worst outcome and document the measures to take.

In fact, well-prepared organizations have mechanisms in place to respond to a major event by preparing their staff and developing the necessary skills to manage the crises generated by the different types of catastrophes:

  • The line of authority in case of disasters is well defined;
  • The crisis unit composition is known;
  • The location for the physical or virtual crisis and succession rooms is known;
  • The telephone and email lists have already been shared;
  • The communication plan to the authorities, employees, the public or clients, has already been prepared.

Often, organizations perform these tasks in a perfunctory manner or put them off until tomorrow. The COVID-19 crisis reminds us about the importance of these tasks.

The assistance of a professional firm could be useful to accelerate the process and mobilize your organization’s members. Where appropriate, they should help you diagnose your readiness, make quick wins, and implement your essential service continuity plan.

Five other keys for successfully surviving a crisis

Beyond this preparation, in the turmoil generated by a crisis of any kind, there are five key elements that can contribute to the success of your efforts.

Stay informed

Plan for ways to recognize how the situation is progressing every day.

  • How are you affected?
  • How many people are involved today?
  • What are the new government guidelines?
  • What are your clients saying?
  • Etc.


Maintain constant, clear lines of communication with the authorities, and with your teams and clients.

Seize opportunities

Times of crisis can accelerate decision-making and reduce the number of stakeholders and levels of authority. In many organizations, the conditions associated with the pandemic provided the impetus to move forward in a matter of weeks in areas that would otherwise have taken years to take hold, such as telework.

Rely on your team members

In times of crisis, your contacts are also affected and will therefore often be unable to support you quickly. You need to find those people, within your internal resources, who make the difference. They exist and will stand out from the crowd; hierarchical status is no longer important.

Save key resources

Crisis management often takes place over a long period of time. After the initial sprint, turn into a marathon runner.

By combining these five key elements with the tools of a good continuity plan and your experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, you will optimize your crisis management.

Analyzing your level of preparedness

Even if you’ve learned from the current pandemic, are you prepared for new threats that may be quite different in nature? It’s best to invest time now to prepare for any eventuality. If a major new crisis arises, you will be equipped to respond.

Not sure where to start? Conduct a diagnostic of your essential service continuity plan readiness using a structured tool. You will discover your strengths, weaknesses and, most importantly, the actions that will bring you the fastest gains. Our experts can assist you.

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