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Created on 22.07.2019

What to do if your company faces a crisis

Crisis management is a highly topical issue: today, no company is immune to risks that could have an impact on a company’s reputation, goals and financial situation. Crises have can several causes: employee misconduct, technical problems, changes in the market environment, government action or the publication of sensitive information. Even minor incidents can really put reputations on the line if a crisis is managed poorly. We will show you why a company needs to analyse the risks, and why it needs a professional risk/crisis management approach. In this article we are going to give you some tips that will help you become a bona fide networker.

Crisis management is vital for any company

Crises usually catch us by surprise. They can affect any company. For management, they can completely upend daily business. A recent Deloitte analysis reveals that a lot of companies do still believe they are able to manage potential crises – that is until they are proven wrong when push comes to shove.

Tip 1: Train your staff

Everyone involved in a potential crisis should have the same understanding of what “crisis” actually means. Does a crisis begin as soon as a few critical comments are posted on social media, or does it only start when huge quantities of customer data are stolen? Raise employee awareness of the issue.

Tip 2: Monitor issues and come up with scenarios

In order to recognise what issues, public debates and potential risks may be relevant to your company’s risk management process over the coming months, you need to analyse the issues at hand on an ongoing basis. You should also come up with different scenarios: for each issue, you should establish what measures you could take to mitigate the greatest risks. Set up a crisis committee with your closest colleagues to monitor these issues, and who can spot risks early and pass on key information.

Tip 3: Have the right tools at hand

Issue management is also about having the right tools on hand in the event of a crisis. Develop an alert system with your monitoring team that notifies you of critical coverage on certain issues or any negative comments on social media. Provide your crisis PR with physical and digital contact lists so you can promptly contact important individuals and media outlets in the event of a crisis.

Tip 4: Allocate roles clearly

It is important to have clearly defined roles, duties and responsibilities within your company in the event of a crisis. Your main contacts should also be given proper training. It is also important to decide early on who should be in charge of internal and external communication channels. Maintain in-house contacts as well so you know how your staff works as this will help ensure the risk of encountering unauthorized individuals or suspicious activities in an emergency is kept as low as possible.

Tip 5: Establish decision-making processes

Strategic issue management is about establishing clear decision-making processes, including consequences, and recommended courses of action, for instance a communication cascade strategy. You should also know who to turn to in the event of a crisis, and where your communication priorities lie. To-do lists, diagrams and concise lists you can use very quickly and flexibly can be a helpful tool here. Make sure everyone in your organization knows who has the final say when it comes to crisis communication.

Tip 6: Communication – prepare text modules for emergencies

Prepare text modules in advance. You will then be able to adapt these at short notice based on the crisis at hand. When you create these modules, think of the 5 Ws & H: who, what, when, where, why and how. They must always be approved internally before you send them out (see tip 5).

Tip 7: Run a crisis simulation in house

Keep drilling crisis scenarios with your crisis committee so that everyone is clear about what their role is. This is the only way you will detect any weaknesses in your processes early on. Your crisis committee will need to meet regularly to keep updating any plans. This, in turn, will encourage and reassure the people in charge.

Prepare yourself for potential events.

There is no such thing as a convenient crisis. This is why it is important to take all the necessary precautions should one arise. A clear plan combined with the tips we have provided here will ensure that both your management and staff will be well equipped to deal with a crisis. Because, at the end of the day, a crisis can happen to anyone.

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