Building a crisis management plan

If a crisis happens, your quick response will make all the difference and can lessen the impact on employees, customers and suppliers. A well-formulated crisis plan can help to keep your employees safe, your reputation intact and your business afloat.

Here is what you should consider when you’re building your crisis plan:

Natural disaster or other emergencies

When it comes to planning for a crisis of this magnitude there are three key things to consider. The first is the safety of everyone in your team. This means proper professional planning and workplace compliance. Everyone must know what to do in a disaster and have practised evacuation. Make sure you have all the required items on site including an emergency kit with ample food, water and first aid supplies.

It’s also important to make sure that your business data is safe. This means ensuring that you are securely backing up all of your company data, whether to a secure cloud-based system or to an external server off-site.

You must also have a comms plan in place so that you can let your customers know what has happened- particularly if you have customers overseas who may not be aware of what is happening locally. Social media may be a helpful tool in this situation, but make sure that you have some draft responses prepared so that you don’t have to formulate customer comms in the middle of a stressful situation.

Reputational crisis

When you’re dealing with a crisis that puts your company in the news for the wrong reasons, whether it’s an employee airing a grievance or you’ve had a product recalled, your response is key to managing the crisis effectively.

Put the right team in place for planning, this could involve a lawyer and PR expert. Your plan should include an appointed spokesperson. Make sure that everyone understands that this is the only person who will comment if the crisis should occur. It’s really important to also have an email template ready so that you can communicate with your employees. Controlling your messaging is very important. Be prepared to also go to out to customers. You will always get points for being as transparent as you can about the situation.

If you suffer a crisis and need to put your plan into action, it’s essential to take the time afterwards to review and adjust your plan, to make sure that you’re even better prepared for next time.

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