By now, we are all well aware of the COVID-19 virus and its ramifications across individuals, businesses and society. We would like to stress the importance of remaining calm and manage your and your team’s anxiety levels at a time like this. Below are some quality takes from our colleagues at World Economic Forum (WEF) and Ricardo Vargas where one talks about ‘Embracing the New Age of Materiality’ and the other provides an ‘Exposure Assessment COVID-19’
COVID-19 has impacted organizations in several ways from supply chain ramifications to workforce disruptions. In addition to remaining aware of the situation, its implications, and upholding composure, some organizations with a sizeable workforce can benefit from creating an Emergency Response Task-Force that will work in an agile manner within the organization to tackle challenges that come with COVID-19 and future emergency response matters. In most cases, an Emergency Response task-force should comprise of a senior executive sponsor, project coordinator, business analyst, emergency response specialist (in COVID’s case, health & safety expertise is essential) and representatives from all major departments such as human resources, supply chain, finance, technology and client-facing roles such as marketing and sales.
Senior Executive Sponsor – Tasked with providing strategic insight, considering the implications and impacts of the COVID-19 and other emergency response related issues to the business, signing off on the Emergency Response task-force recommendations and providing updates to the C-Suite and the board.
Project Coordinator/ Manager – Plans, manages and coordinates the various aspects surrounding the implementation of projects associated with the Emergency Response task-force.
Business Analyst – Provides business analysis support to the Emergency Response task-force to ensure business continuity while also potentially supporting emergency response-related work to overburdened departments.
Emergency Response Specialist and/ or Health & Safety (COVID-19) professional– Helps organizations measure the risks, exposure, and impact of emergency related matters based on research, statistics, medical evidence, and scientific theory.
At the Human Resources side, it is important to create an environment with clear policies and structures to support the challenges that managers, employees and contractors are bound to have. Some basic areas that should be considered are:
Supply Chain – As part of the supply chain team involved with the emergency response task force, work will revolve around coordinating actions, leveraging technical expertise, providing recommendations, remediating supply chain issues, among other responsibilities. It is important that the supply chain representative, as well as any other representative, follow and implements the solutions proposed by the task-force. Some areas to consider are:
Ever since the 2008 financial crisis, banks have revamped their financial stress testing to further analyze the potential impact of an economic downturn to the organization (e.g. value at risk, probability of default, exposure of default, advanced measurement approach). This allows them to build contingency plans and become more resilient in difficult times. It is important to note that although your organization may be financially sound, a supplier bankruptcy for example, may expose your supply chain. In this case, the finance department within the organization must expand its stress testing to account for the information provided by the task-force, study how current mitigative and preventative actions will affect the company, analyse and implement steps needed to optimize the organization’s financial position.
The goal of the technology department representative in this area is to ensure that software, hardware, tech professionals and employees are well-equipped to weather the challenges that an emergency crisis may have from a technological stand-point.
Representatives from client facing operations need to work with customers to facilitate, bring awareness, advise and tackle the challenges and opportunities that exist given of the even of a crises. It is important to consider building and/ or consolidating partnerships and corporate clientele in such situations as well. Considerations may have different facets depending on the business, a few examples are:
Organizations often have a barrage of information and challenges that it needs to face throughout its life. To facilitate the dissemination of emergency related factors, GPetrium compiled a list of 7 major ones that should always be in the minds of an Emergency Response Task-Force:
For every trial and tribulation, there is always a period of calmness that precedes and sometimes succeeds such state. It is important to use such periods, where networks and infrastructure are not in stress, to prepare for future crisis. To alleviate the resource constraint of maintaining an emergency response task force at all times, organizations need to consider some areas:
It is a lot harder to propel an initiative from scratch, than to have some if not all of the pieces of the cog in place when major emergencies occur. An organization’s long-term success is directly tied to its ability to mitigate risks and to weather the storm in times of difficulties. Therefore, building and having the right capabilities in hand can make or break a business.