HRE’s Number of the Day: business continuity planning

69%: Percentage of employers surveyed by Paychex that did not have a business continuity plan in place before the COVID-19 pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic forced employers, often led by HR, to make split decisions to ensure operations could keep running: moving employees home, laying off workers, reconfiguring physical offices. And many of them did so without a clear business continuity plan.

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That’s according to Paychex, which found that only 31% of employers it surveyed had a business continuity plan in place prior to the pandemic–leaving the vast majority scrambling to strategize throughout the crisis.

Of that one-third, 85% said the BCP has been helpful during the pandemic, said Alison Stevens, director of HR at the payroll and HR provider, during Thursday’s Spring HR Tech.

What it means to HR leaders

Stevens said Paychex saw firsthand how client companies with a BCP–and those without one–have been able to respond to the pandemic.

“For those that were prepared from a BCP perspective, adaptation was around navigating the pandemic itself,” she said. “For customers that were unprepared and lacked any sort of BCP planning, [we focused on] helping them be more deliberate in understanding what are the steps and actions they needed to take … with speed and accuracy to ensure the smooth continuity of business.” That involved everything from developing new safety protocols to implementing a full-scale shift to remote work.

Related: Read more Spring HR Tech coverage here.

Technology proved to be a crucial factor in business continuity, even for those without a strong strategy already in place, added Nathan Shapiro, director of platform strategy and user experience at Paychex.

“When we look at restaurants, very few have the infrastructure, the logistics to shift overnight to delivery services only,” he said. “So, we saw DoorDash and Grubhub picking up right there and we watched the growth in the number of businesses embracing those services. A lot of those businesses didn’t have a BCP in place, and if those solutions and technologies weren’t available to them, I think more would have immediately gone out of business.”

Shapiro added that “sound technologies and strategies” are essential to helping organizations embrace evolving business needs.

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Jen Colletta
Jen Colletta is managing editor at HRE. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in writing from La Salle University in Philadelphia and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining HRE. She can be reached at [email protected].