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Business Continuity Planning for HR Shared Services


Shared Services Payroll leaders know that paying employees on time is non-negotiable regardless of the circumstances. A Business Continuity Plan (“BCP”) can ensure your payroll processes can execute on time and accurately regardless of any unplanned interruptions.

A Peeriosity PeercastTM in the Payroll research area featured a global company that processes its payroll in-house. Over the years, they have developed a comprehensive BCP that has been a model for other functional areas as well.

As with all Peeriosity PeercastsTM, participants answered iPolling® questions that helped frame the discussion:

execution satisfaction with Payroll Business Continuity Plan ipolling peeriosity


testing Payroll Business Continuity Plan ipolling results

Our PeercastTM feature company shared the specifics of their Payroll BCP with the attendees, which led to discussions surrounding the various components. With so many variables to manage and so many moving parts, the initial discussion was “where do you start in preparing the BCP” – how to organize a BCP into manageable components. Our feature company described their BCP Focus Areas components as:

  • Facilities
  • Personnel
  • Systems
  • Records
  • Internal Dependencies
  • External Dependencies

Within each Focus Area is a very specific project plan assigned to a member of the team (or external parties). Each Focus Area has three distinct sub-plans with an owner assigned to each activity along with their timeline requirements, communication tree, as well as where to refer for more detailed implementation information:

  • Initial Response
  • Continuity Plan
  • Restoration

Our feature company shared its Payroll BCP in detail with other Peeriosity members including each of the tasks associated with all three sub-plans. These tasks included:

  • Communication Plan and related “branches” (Senior Management, Operations, Employees, Internal, etc.)
  • Command Center activities
  • Triggers for declaring when to move from Initial Response to Continuity Plan
  • Employee assignments while executing the Continuity Plan
  • “Hot-site” readiness and conversion

The discussion continued with participants sharing some of their key lessons learned from experiences having to implement BCPs in the past. These included:

  • Contact list (preferable in the form of a communication tree) that includes not only employees but other departments and key operation people. This listing MUST be assigned to someone to ensure it is always up to date.
  • The high-level flowchart and decision tree to determine if an “event” has occurred. Nothing is worse than a discussion debating if the threshold to initiate the BCP has been met when time may be of the essence.
  • A detailed communication plan that says who initiates, to whom, and when. Templates should be maintained so this becomes a “fill-in-the-blank” exercise rather than starting from scratch.
  • Fully vetted resource requirements including:
    • Mutually pre-agreed personnel to relocate
    • Facilities readiness
    • Equipment, power supply
    • Printers, check stock (if needed)

Participants agreed that it is critical to test the BCP at least annually. And while our poll results indicate that 86% do test at least annually, there are some differences in definitions as to what constitutes a test. Testing should be thorough enough that there is assurance that a cut over to the hot site can occur and every step of the plan from Initial Response to Restoration can be executed with confidence – and that payroll will be paid on time, regardless of the disruption.

How confident are you that your organization’s employees will be paid should there be an unplanned disruption?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?

1 “PeercastsTM” are private, professionally facilitated webcasts that feature leading member company experiences on specific topics as a catalyst for broader discussion.  Access is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from attending or accessing discussion content.  Members can see who is registered to attend in advance, with discussion recordings, supporting polls, and presentation materials online and available whenever convenient for the member.  Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, attendees can easily communicate at any time with other attending peers by selecting them from the list of registered attendees.

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