JOHNSON FLEMING’S TRUE EXPERIENCE WITH THEIR BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN
Picture this: the worst case scenario happens to your business, but you’re not worried. You have a business continuity plan in place, you feel untouchable. You might as well be sipping cocktails on a lounge chair at this point. Wouldn’t that be great?!
In this feature, we’re going to journey back to when the world was first struck by the Coronavirus, and take you through a first-hand experience of how this global catastrophe barely affected our client, Johnson Fleming … This could be you in the future!
A little bit of background
Johnson Fleming are a leading, workplace pensions and employee benefits consultancy, providing outsourced support to UK businesses. In 2014, they contacted ISO Quality Services and became certified to the ISO 22301 Business Continuity Management Standard.
When implementing business continuity processes, you hope that you never have to use them. However, when situations arise that are out of your control, you’ll be glad that you prepared for them…
Why did Johnson Fleming originally implement the standard?
We asked Tom Claridge, Customer Services Director, why the company initially wanted to become certified to the ISO 22301… Firstly, they wanted to formalise and document their existing business continuity plans into a standard, recognised format. Then secondly, they also dealt with a lot of large corporate companies… It became apparent to them that obtaining the ISO 22301 was essential when dealing with procurement departments in both existing and prospective clients. Is this something you should be considering?
The week before
Johnson Fleming had been preparing for the possibility of lockdown before it was actually enforced. The main focus for them was ensuring that all employees could work seamlessly from the comfort of their own home accessing all of Johnson Fleming’s systems remotely. Their systems are cloud-based anyway, and the technical issues they experienced weren’t much trouble to fix, as fortunately, they’d been recently acquired by a US parent company, NFP. NFP provided some additional technical support with their remote access solution, and phone system. Then, like many businesses, Johnson Fleming also implemented Microsoft Teams companywide.
Adapting and Communicating
Key to the relatively seamless transition to home-working, as Tom explained, besides technology, was the existing communication practices and meeting structures they have in place. The management used throughout the business is based on Agile Scrum methodology, and allows for quick and effective work management and communication.
In the midst of a pandemic, communication is even more crucial than it would be normally. Johnson Fleming specifically said that they feel communication is key in their business, which meant that making big changes, such as the perfect example of transferring from office working to remote working, was a whole lot easier to manage. Strong reporting channels and communication all round meant that the team reacted positively, and were working mostly on a business-as-usual basis from the first day of lockdown.
Life without business continuity
Without their business continuity plans… “We would have struggled to continue to provide service to our clients, and therefore fulfil our contractual obligations. This would result in significant loss of revenue, and all of the unfortunate consequences that follow that scenario”.
Continuing to improve
If there is ever a next time… Johnson Fleming said “Our Business Continuity program is well established and regularly tested, and has been designed to consider fire, flood, death of key personnel, etc.”
However, there is one thing that it did not incorporate, which was… “a pandemic and the requirement for all staff to work from home on an extended basis. Fortunately, given our preparation around the other events, we were able to adapt existing procedures fairly easily, but it’s definitely worth revisiting your plans following these sorts of events. You need to have a bit of a nihilistic blank paper exercise on a regular basis to ensure that every horrendous eventuality has been covered!”
Advice for other businesses
Finally, Johnson Fleming shared the following advice for businesses considering implementing Business Continuity plans…
“Business Continuity plans are critical for any business, and we would certainly never contract with a new supplier if they didn’t have adequate business continuity plans in place. A business continuity failure from a supplier could impact your ability to provide service to clients and therefore could result in lost business. It is essential that business continuity plans are understood by staff throughout the business, and also that they take part in regular testing of the plan. Feedback from key stakeholders is also important as this will help to ensure that you plan remains relevant and fit for purpose.”
Make your business future proof with the ISO 22301.
If you’d just like to get started by watching this Business Continuity webinar, click here.