Embracing Business Continuity Management in HR Management during times of war and crises

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Farai Mugabe, Content & Research, The HR Congress

VUCA as we know it has a new meaning in the past 2.5 years. If the global pandemic was not enough now Europe faces the worst war amd migration crisis since the World War II – this requires HR leaders to take a closer look at Business Continuity Management.

As the world changes due to disruptions such as war, COVID 19, volcanic eruptions, economics it is important it is imperative for organizations to be more agile and flexible enough to withstand pressures that are posted on them.1

🇺🇦 Our prayer goes to the beautiful nation of Ukraine and its great people who are currently facing a war and invasion on their home soil. In such challenging times of disturbances as those which are being faced by Ukraine, HR plays a pivotal role in building resilience and continuity of operations.2 This brings into perspective a business concept called Business Continuity Management (BCM).3

Business Continuity Management (BCM) and Human Resource Management (HRM)

Business Continuity Management is an objective and practical approach premised on the identification and management of potentially disruptive negative risks that are a threat to business survival in such a manner that business continues to deliver value.3

In such a scenario, HR plays a pivotal role in planning and managing a crises and ensure viability of operations. In times of war as in the case of Ukraine essential services such as emergency care, power supply, telecommunications, food and water services and Television broadcasting services. These key essential industries play a critical role in an economy due to their strategic nature

Why the need to have BCM?

As you build a business case for a BCM strategy and initiatives, you often asked on why BCM is important for a business.

1.         Continuity of business profits and performance

In times of war and crises, HR can help companies to be able to be resilient and continue to be sustainable. This is seen by HR facilitating continuity throughout the business through helping companies to be agile and flexible. By employing Business Continuity Management practices, your organisation is able to continuously make profit even in the most unlikely places and times.

2.         Proactivity

BCM enables businesses to employ proactive thinking and be prepared of any unforeseen event that might happen.  A research done in the US by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) indicate that 40% of businesses fail to reopen after being hit by a disaster. Some of them have even closed down.4 One of the reasons is that they fail to fully embrace Business Continuity Management (BCM).

3.         We are now living in unpredictable times

The current business environment is highly unstable and unpredictable. A lot of man-made and natural disasters are occurring. Hence there is need to ensure that that businesses embrace the concept of BCM so that they can be able to manage service disruptions caused by war and natural disasters.5

How HR plays a role in Business Continuity Management

  1. Identifying  critical HR functions   and making plans to manage them

Companies should be agile and flexible to be able to cope with external pressures that are posed on them. Before anything happens to a business, plans should be there or get quickly created in ensuring that a sustainability of operations is maintained. It is important for HR to facilitate and identify critical functions within a company and how you can survive with them.

In HR critical operations that a business cannot survive with include, payroll and benefits management, business leadership and the people who work in the business themselves.

  • Facilitating succession planning

Succession planning remains critical to support the delivery of key business objectives such as profitability, revenue growth and innovation management. During such times HR helps in ensuring that more than critical information and data is not held by one individual. For example passwords for key accounts are held by at least three individuals who are trustworthy.

HR also ensures that different individuals who do similar operations stay in different geographical locations. In the event that employee fails to connect due to disturbances such as internet connectivity, employee B is able to do the job.

  • Training and awareness

It is very important to ensure that your staff are aware of BCM issues because they are the ones who implement your strategies.HR facilitates and develops training programs on Business Continuity Management. Such a program is created to train new joiners as well as existing employees. This will help you to ensure a smooth management of BCM processes.

  • Sharing information

Information is critical for an business organisation that helps companies to be more agile and resilient during turbulent times. In the case of Ukraine, Sergio Caredda an HR professional has created an online platform entitled, HR for Ukraine. This platform provides vital information on how HR professionals can help organisations and its employees during such trying times.6

  • Providing medical support

During times of war and any crises, a company’s critical or core team which makes things happen may get injured or lose their lives. HR as an employee champion may offer critical medical support for employees and families who get injured during such times.

  • Assist with facilitating relocation  

Some families have painfully left their homes due to the war that is currently happening in Ukraine. Travelling during such times is by no means easy. Ubisoft indicated that it is facilitating the emergency movement of its staff from Ukraine to other safer neighbouring countries. 7This is critical as it helps employees to be safe whilst at the same time, they can be able to work in safer locations.


Employees are said to be the most valued asset of the organisation. It is the role of HR Leaders to be able to protect this most valued asset.   HR must step up into the role of an employee champion and facilitate business continuity management with people in mind. 8


1Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, by World Health Organisation, World Health Organisation

2One week in, Russia’s war on Ukraine has rocked the world, by John Psaropoulos, Aljazeera

3Business continuity Management.  By Eric Krell, CMA Canada, AICPA and CIMA

4Study: 40% of businesses fail to reopen after a disaster, By Accesscorp, Access Corp

5The pandemic has taught us to be closer to our people: Five key predictions for 2022

6HR for Ukraine, by Sergio Carreda

7 All our thoughts are with our teams and their loved ones in Ukraine, By Ubisoft, Twitter

8A New Mandate for Human Resources, By Professor Dave Ulrich, Harvard Business Review

Written by: Mihaly Nagy

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