Your business is vulnerable. Accidents, natural disasters or a rapid retirement of a long-time employee could cause your farm to come to a screeching halt. How can you mitigate those risks?
“Strategic management is largely a matter of anticipating the future, recognizing problems before they occur, and taking corrective action while the window of opportunity for effective response is still open,” says Danny Klinefelter, Texas A&M University professor emeritus.
This is where a business continuity plan plays a critical role in keeping your farm running smoothly in times of disruption. These plans help you assess areas of vulnerability in your organization and craft the appropriate level of response, says Shaunna Jones, talent advisor and HR success strategist at K·Coe Isom.
Assess Strengths, Weaknesses
To create a plan, first gather your leadership team or an employee from all areas of your business. Next, perform a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis, Jones says.
“A SWOT analysis helps you get an idea of where the vulnerable areas are in your organization,” she says. “Determine whether it’d be impacted a little, or a lot, and have the stakeholders identify the levels of response needed.”
Who Does What?
Another key component to a continuity plan is to have documented, beyond solely listing job title or general responsibilities, the key duties of each member of your team.
Once you’ve covered staffing, address solutions for are your technological systems. Can work be done remotely? How would you manage if you were without internet for a period of time?
Also think through a plan if your farm headquarters is hit by a natural disaster. Do you have a backup location?
The key, Jones says, is to think through: How do we get from the emergent situation back to business as usual?
Once you have these vital areas addressed, store and share the plan. “The plan itself could be either an actual physical document, or kept in the cloud, but documentation that shows not only what those areas of vulnerability are and what our mitigation plans are,” she says.
The final step is to craft a communication plan, which should include your employees, your vendors, your customers, and any other third party that you interact with. You need to keep them aware of where you are in your recovery process, Jones says.