If COVID taught businesses one integral lesson, it would be to have a crisis management plan available. Many businesses were left scrambling as a global public health pandemic impacted financial, economic, and social life.
Moving forward, here are some considerations in developing a crisis management plan.
- Define “crisis.” A crisis can vary to some degree across businesses, but oftentimes is defined as an unexpected situation or event that disrupts or impacts normal business operations. Defining a crisis is the first step in establishing an effective crisis management plan.
- Calculate risks and determine goals. Risks may include organizational, environmental, personnel, financial, or technological issues. Each risk should be evaluated for potential impact to the business, as well as effective strategies to address the crisis and restore normal business operations. Determining goals refers to the intended outcome of resolving a crisis. For example, if experiencing an environmental crisis, such as an earthquake, one goal would likely to be assess and repair the physical damage to ensure swift restoration of your business.
- Develop a crisis management team. This team should be responsible for evaluating the crisis, determining the threat level and responding appropriately, identifying third-party services to assist with response efforts, coordinating with respective authorities, implementing proper communication strategies, and regularly auditing the crisis management plan for improvement.
- Establish stakeholders and communication procedures. Stakeholders refer to the individuals and entities involved, such as clients, employees, media, general public, corporate and other business management, investors and shareholders, and board members.
- Designate alert levels for crisis response. Alert levels can assist in organizing the crisis management team in their processes for addressing crises of different severity levels.
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- Assess the crisis at hand. This will likely demand the following questions to be asked:
- What happened?
- When and where did the crisis occur?
- Why did the crisis occur?
The answers to these questions can provide a better indication of whether the situation falls under your company’s definition of crisis, the alert level for such crisis, and the appropriate response to such crisis.
- Initiate your crisis response plan. Once a crisis has been identified, activate your crisis management team by covering objectives and individual duties.
- Respond immediately and appropriately. It is imperative that no matter the severity of the crisis, you should always respond as promptly and appropriately as possible.
- Implement and adjust the crisis management team involvement. Once the initial crisis has been addressed, you may gradually resume normal business operations. Be sure to debrief your crisis management team before dismissing to discuss best practices and suggestions for improvement.
- Determine if follow-up communications are appropriate. Sometimes companies deem it best to notify appropriate parties that the crisis has been resolved, expressing gratitude for support and your team’s efforts, as well as empathy for any hardships or hiccups in the process, and statement about moving forward.
- Analyze, and modify if necessary, the crisis management plan. Examine what went well, what needed improvement, analyze data (i.e., stock prices, client and employee engagement, etc.), status of business relationships, and determine if any follow-up actions are necessary.
If you need assistance with developing or modifying a crisis management plan, please contact VensureHR. Our HR experts have many years of experience and can provide industry best practices, tools, resources, and training on effective crisis management processes and policies tailored to your specific business needs. Don’t wait until you need it; contact an HR service specialist at VensureHR for a free HR diagnostic today.