Should You Hire More Business Continuity Staff?

5 Ways to Increase Support for Your Business Continuity Team

In the business world where executives can sometimes be hyper-focused on dollars-in versus dollars-out—far more than resource allocation for operational resilience—business continuity professionals often find themselves struggling with having to do more with less.

If you’re a one-person resilience team or a small team with limited tools and resources, how can you ensure you’re taking care of every check-list item to ensure your business continuity and disaster recovery plans are up-to-date, well-tested, and ready to go, all while scaling in both scope and maturity as your organization evolves over time?

  • Do you need more help?
  • What does “more help” look like?
    • Hire more staff?
    • Work with a consultant?
    • Add a contractor to your team for additional support without the full-time employee overhead?

Sometimes, working through these questions and building a business case to support your needs can be as time-consuming and demanding as running your business continuity program itself.

So, where do you begin? How do you know which investments you need to make in talent and resources to reach the optimal level of resilience for your organization?

This blog explores five ways you can boost your business continuity staffing options and what you can do to ensure you’re achieving the right level of resilience for your organization.

Five Business Continuity Staffing Options

When it comes to efficiently performing business continuity-related tasks (while striving to achieve the right level of resilience for your organization), there are five staffing options you may want to consider to support your existing team:

  1. Hiring full-time employees
  2. Using staff augmentation resources (for example, hiring temporary staff to supplement full-time internal employees)
  3. Working with outside professional services (consultants)
  4. Outsourcing work to third-party staff who perform the work indefinitely
  5. A hybrid model of any of these combinations

Defining Staffing Options

1. Full-Time Employees

Full-time employees are exempt or non-exempt permanent staff retained, managed, and compensated directly by your organization. In this model, your internal managers assign goals and objectives for these employees to support your program and organizational goals.

This is a suitable option if your organization has indefinite needs and there are suitably experienced professionals available for hire.

Risks to Consider:

  • Availability of full-time business continuity and operational resilience professionals is limited – particularly during good economic times.
  • Your organization is responsible for training and continuing education, especially for those with professional certifications.
  • To retain these new employees, do your best to ensure the hires fit your organizational culture, as well as make an investment into addressing their expectations and motivators.

Need help? Castellan can assist your team identify full-time resources that align to an open job description, including finding technically qualified candidates with insight on culture fit and the individual’s motivators.

2. Staff Augmentation Resources

Staff augmentation resources are temporary staff members assigned to an existing function or team for a specific purpose for a finite period of time.

In this staffing option, your organization is responsible for managing temporary staff to augment your existing resources. This might be the best option for your organization if your existing internal resources are consumed with other assignments or they lack a specific skill or experience needed for a specific task.  

Risks to Consider:

  • Staff augmentation works best if you have resiliency skills in-house, but need to temporarily scale your team to achieve goals.
  • If you don’t have in-house skills, it’s challenging to evaluate if staff augmentation resource is effective.

Need help? Castellan can assist with identifying temporary staffing resources to supplement your team over the short to medium-term, with experienced professionals reporting to a member of your team for direction and oversight.

3. Professional Services

Also known as consultants, your organization may choose to engage third-party professional services when you have a specific business challenge and your organization doesn’t have the time or expertise to solve the problem (or your need is time-sensitive).

In this option, the consultant – with one or more assigned resources – is given a problem and expected to generate a solution (which may include designing and/or implementing a solution to solve the problem).

If selected for the project, the consultant or professional services organization is accountable for providing deliverables on time and in a high-quality manner based on an approach and roles/responsibilities agreed to by both parties.

In other words, consulting resources are self-managed and accountable to your organization solely for commitments made in a statement of work.

Risks to Consider:

  • Only pay professional services firms for successfully delivering a project. This is typically known as a fixed price.
  • The firm should take responsibility for on-time, quality delivery without detailed management from you.

Need help? Castellan essentially offers three services: project-based consulting (as described here), Castellan business continuity software, and a third service, outsourcing or managed services, which we’ll explore next.

4. Outsourcing or Managed Services

Outsourcing non-core business processes frees up your organization to perform work that aligns with your core focus and eliminates the burden of worrying about hiring and retaining scarce resources to perform a core risk management function.

In an outsourced capacity, your organization defines an approach with your outsourcer’s advice and then measures performance as if your outsourcer’s resources are internal staff.

Best yet, the outsourcer continues to deliver while refreshing work with current best practices honed across its work with other organizations.

Risks to Consider:

  • For some organizations, outsourcing is used as an opportunity to provide lower quality or lower-cost resources.
  • Your organization should establish expectations that the outsourced staff assigned to your account will have the right experience, a long-term commitment, and spend some time on site.

Need help? With Castellan managed service offering, we perform your business continuity function on a recurring basis and will report to an internal program sponsor and/or steering committee. Often overlooked as part of outsourcing, Castellan also participates in the response to a disruptive event in addition to operating planning processes.

5. The Hybrid Model

In some cases, a hybrid model might make the most sense for your organization. Initially, the project would kick off as managed and directed by professional services and then, later on, professionals (staff augmentation) would be added to either work in tandem with your consulting services team during the engagement or they would be onboarded toward the conclusion of the consulting engagement as the effort transitions to permanent, internal resources.

Staffing Option Benefits

Before choosing which option is best for you, consider your needs and how each option can help you meet those needs. This chart explores how the first four options (full-time staff, staff augmentation, professional services, and outsourcing) may best meet your specific needs, but don’t forget, there is a fifth option, a hybrid model, which would enable you to pick and choose a combination of what’s best for your organization.

Hire More Staff or Rely on External Support?

If you’re unsure if you want to support an internally staffed program or adopt outsourced services, here are a few questions to consider:

  • Culturally, is your organization successful in outsourcing?
  • Is your organization still positioned to retain accountability and provide oversight?
  • Have you struggled with retaining staff in the past?

If you’ve answered yes to these three questions, outsourcing may be a solid option.

Another consideration when making a staffing choice is cost.

  • In general, full-time resources are less expensive than similar resources available via staff augmentation.
  • Consulting resources are typically more expensive than similar internal or staff augmentation resources (due to project management requirements and the introduction of intellectual property).
  • When comparing full-time employees with an outsourcing model, the latter is often less expensive given fewer resources are required because the outsourcer does not have the internal employment obligations that take away from delivering business continuity services.

Which Model is Right for You?

When it comes to choosing the right option to support your existing teams, which model is best for your organization?

To help you move in the right direction, here are a few common task examples that align well with staff augmentation options compared to professional services:

Staff Augmentation Resources

  • Documenting or updating IT disaster recovery plans where a recovery strategy is in place and existing standards/templates already exist
  • Supplementing an existing team refreshing the business impact analysis (BIA)
  • Planning, facilitating, and reporting on an exercise so internal staff can participate

Professional Services

  • Designing a program where no internal resources are in place (documenting a business continuity policy and standard operating procedure)
  • Comparing an existing program to an international standard, regulatory requirement, or best practice
  • Performing a BIA where a process is not yet defined and no one on staff has led such an effort for the first time in an organization

Building the Right Business Continuity Team

Building the right business continuity team has long-lasting positive impacts on overall operational resilience. But, making those tough decisions, especially with limited resources and staffing challenges, can feel daunting.

There is good news. You don’t have to journey alone. Castellan offers an array of consulting and professional services to help you build the best program for your organization—whether that’s maximizing your internal resources or employing outside help.

If you’re not exactly sure where to start, you may find it beneficial to explore our Business Continuity Accountability Guide. The guide is designed to help you build a high-functioning and healthy business continuity team while also eliminating accountability issues that may hinder your success.

In the guide, you’ll explore:

  • Tips to identify and define clear roles and responsibilities
  • A framework to determine the right people through a GWC exercise
  • Insights on how to address issues when someone isn’t the right fit for a role
  • A worksheet and a summary of the most common roles to get you started

Want to learn more about how you can build your best business continuity team? Download the Business Continuity Accountability Guide or contact a Castellan advisor today.

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Cheyene Marling

Managing Director of BC Management

As a global leader with over 22 years dedicated expertise specializing in the BC profession, Cheyene is responsible for overseeing staffing strategies & data research analytics for Castellan as BC Management, helping clients globally in addition to providing career assessment & coaching expertise.

Ready for some hands-on help? Let’s discuss how to best achieve your business continuity goals.
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