In Times of Crisis, HRO Business Continuity Means Business: Part 3

Linda Merritt, HRO Research Analyst, NelsonHall

A deeper dive into business continuity planning (BCP) will wrap-up the series on how HRO can help clients during a crisis.  

As a HRO buyer, in addition to knowing the plans for transferring services to back-up systems and centers, it is as important to know that your account team will be ready, capable, and dedicated to keeping you and your employees serviced.

Communication and Partnership

Aon Hewitt, Mercer, NorthgateArinso (NGA), and Xerox all stressed the need to communicate early and often with their clients in preparation and throughout a disaster.  

  • “No surprises” is important in an emergency and Mercer began its outreach to clients the Friday before the storm made landfall on how to help meet client needs and to provide updates on Mercer’s plans and preparations.

Disaster Central

Coordination in a crisis is critical when normal operations and lines of communications maybe disrupted.

  • Using its prepared playbook, Xerox sets up a situation room and cross-functional team for handling major events and any contingency needs that arise.
  • For several days after Superstorm Sandy, the Xerox New Jersey HRO office was inaccessible with no power and impassible roads. While designated critical personnel were able to work remotely, normal operations shifted to the partner team in Manila and service levels were maintained throughout including the transfer back to New Jersey.
  • Xerox knew that it wasn’t enough just to have a generator since it would need fuel for perhaps an extended time. It, therefore, already had contracts in place with local suppliers and was able to get fuel and transportation when others couldn’t. In addition to fuel deliveries, Xerox had a bus available to pick up employees from several designated locations.

Practice Makes Perfect

Testing is what makes BCP more likely to work in the real world where no matter how good the plan, unexpected events will occur. Ask how often BCP is reviewed, updated, and tested. 

  • NGA holds surprise BCP tests where no one knows in advance it is coming or the scenario used for the mock disaster.

Aon Hewitt’s BCP covers specific needs by location, skills and knowledge coverage, and technology back-up.  Cross training in advance helps Aon Hewitt ensure the back-up buddy team will be prepared for specific client transactions.

Individualize

Needs vary by client and some may be in different parts of the HR monthly or annual cycle which impacts the services needed during an emergency.

  • An NGA client planning for a new system go-live on January 1st did not want a delay because of Sandy but needed to pull some of its own team away from implementation. NGA was ready and able to step into the gap and is providing the client some peace of mind in difficult circumstances.

Business continuity and disaster recovery can and should be a decision factor in the HRO vendor selection process as it illustrates both sides of HRO, operational excellence, and the care and concern that sets HR and HRO apart from other services.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Business Continuity Planning, Crisis Planning, Disaster planning, hr outsourcing, hro

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