The value of professional certification in business continuity

The value of professional certification in business continuity

Business continuity management (BCM) has been growing in prominence in both the private and public sectors globally over the past 15 years. This growth has been driven by rising regulatory scrutiny, aggressive customer demands, and increasing severity of disruptive events such as natural calamities, industrial accidents, cyber-security breaches, supply chain disruptions and infrastructure outages. The biggest treat an organisation faces today is not being prepared to deal with these inevitabilities.

Along with this growth comes the need for personnel who are qualified and better skilled in business continuity. This has spurred the demand for business continuity practitioners to reasonably seek appropriate recognition of their qualifications and experience through professional certification.

Professional certification organisations such as the Business Continuity Institute (www.thebci.org) and International Consortium for Organisational Resilience (www.theicor.org) offer their members opportunities for learning, development and advancement. Members also have the benefit of being associated with an international network of like-minded professionals to share experiences and good practice in business continuity.

Certification acknowledges an individual’s standing in the profession and provides demonstrable recognition of a person’s technical and professional competency in business continuity. It recognises a person’s effort and commitment to achieve a high level of professionalism in the industry. Certification is also a useful business credential as it raises the possibilities of greater employer recognition, more career flexibility, higher income and better job satisfaction.

What about benefits to employers? Should employers underwrite professional certification for their employees who have been given business continuity responsibilities?

There is clear evidence to show that organisations benefit by ensuring that their business continuity staff are certified. Using professionally qualified people provides assurance to the organisation that its BCM programme follows recognised standards and processes, and that the programme is being properly implemented and managed. This gives more certainty to the organisation of its ability to mitigate the threat of business disruptions and to effectively respond when a major disruption does indeed occur.

Certified staff will have access to the latest thinking, industry best practices, and a wide body of knowledge through their professional bodies. These bodies foster professional development through ongoing continuity education and mentoring programmes. Members also get the opportunity to network with other professionals at the local, national, and in many cases, international levels to share experiences and learn from each other. The knowledge gained through these associations helps to improve the way certified employees execute the BCM programmes back in their own organisations.

Certified business continuity professionals are more efficient workers and enhance the performance of the teams they are a part of. They will have a good understanding of the process and have been assessed as to their level of competency. They are also required to operate within the Code of Practice and Ethics as defined by the certification body. Using certified staff gives credibility to the organisation’s BCM programme. It instils confidence in stakeholders that the organisation knows what it is doing.

All over the world, more and more employers are now looking for professionally certified BCM practitioners as a condition for hiring. Many are also making efforts to see that their existing BCM staff members achieve certification. Certification is now also a pre-requisite in many organisations for engaging business continuity consultants. These trends are expected to continue well into the future.

Riskwest is a Licensed Training Partner of BCI and ICOR, and conducts BCM certification course and exams offered by these professional certification bodies regularly. For more information, please visit www.riskwest.com.au/training or email enquiries@riskwest.com.au