A business crisis is an event that has the potential to threaten the success and health of a company by tarnishing its reputation, damaging its business operations, negatively impacting its finances, and/ or harming its employees. A business crisis can be caused by something internally or externally. Due to the severity of a business crisis, it’s important to be prepared to manage one of these events with a plan you (and the corporate team) create prior to one actually occurring.
Crisis management can best be defined as the process of preparing for and managing any disruptive or unexpected emergency situations that affect your business, stakeholders, employees, customers, and revenue. Crisis management is an important component of public relations.
Crisis Management Process
The crisis management process involves much more than managing the crisis itself — although that’s arguably the most important part. The primary steps in the crisis management process to prepare the corporate team and crisis leaders can be best prepared in the following three steps:
This involves creating a crisis management plan, hiring and training your crisis management team, drafting any crisis communication messages you may have to relay in times of crisis and conduct practice exercises for implementing your plan.
(b) Crisis management and response
It is the process of dealing with and responding to the different stages of crisis when the crisis management plan is put into action. Initial crisis management messages are released, employees and stakeholders are contacted, and public and company safety is prioritized (more than normal).
When a crisis passes or subsides, It’s imperative that you remain in contact with your employees, customers and stakeholders, and remain available to answer questions. It’s also the best practice to send proactive updates to these parties.
Finally, work with your crisis management team to review and analyze your crisis management plan how it played out during a real emergency situation. How did your crisis communications perform? Did your audiences have any lingering questions or concerns that you neglected to answer? Integrate any lessons you learn into your crisis management process for future planning. Now, let’s dive into the crisis management plan and how to create one for your business.
What is Crisis Management Plan
A crisis management plan is an established process a business follows when dealing with a disruptive or unexpected emergency situation. Your crisis management plan should be completed prior to crisis to ensure your business is prepared to use it to combat and rectify any unexpected events.
Why Create a Crisis Management Plan
I f your business faces a crisis of any kind and isn’t equipped with a crisis management plan detailing how you’ll handle the situation, it’s likely you’ll experience serious and long-lasting consequences. These consequences might be related to various legal, operational, and public relations issues. Depending on the extent of the damage, a crisis situation could even put you out of business. Simply put, all businesses should have a crisis management plan in place to be prepared for any unplanned event and prevent long-term damage from happening as a result. Crisis management plans help you maintain your great reputation with customers, competitors, and industry leaders during and after a crisis. Improve the safety, health, and well-being of everyone who works for and does business with your company. By having peace of mind as an employer and company – you’ll be ready for any situation that comes your way. Increase productivity during and after a crisis. Everyone will know their role and function throughout a crisis so there’s less downtime, more action, and quicker resolution.
The Mechanics of Scripting a Crisis Management Plan
Taking cues from my personal experiences, I feel that the following seven steps can be big winners in creating a crisis management plan:
- Identify all possible types of crises.
- Determine the impact of each type of crisis on your business.
- Consider the actions you’d need to take to resolve each type of crisis.
- Decide who will be involved in the actions you need to take in each scenario.
- Develop resolution plans for each type of crisis.
- Train everyone who needs to be familiar with your plans.
- Revisit and update your plans regularly and when necessary.
Stages of a Crisis
Along with the creation of your crisis management plan, it’s important to understand and be aware of the different stages of a crisis. These stages occur during a crisis and can help you determine how you should respond to the situation at different points in time. The crisis management plans must be in place prior to working through the following stages of a crisis in a real situation:
- Risk Assessment.
Crisis Management Teams
Crisis management teams are created to protect the business from the adverse effects of any crisis situation or event. They also help keep our business and employees prepared for any threats that could potentially come your way. Some of the main job functions of a crisis management team include;
- Detecting warning signs that signal a crisis is coming.
- Working with employees to prepare for and handle the implementation of a crisis management plan.
- Ensuring the reputation of your company remains positive throughout (and after) any crisis event. There are three types of crisis management teams a company might hire to help them manage a situation. These teams include regional emergency management teams, site emergency response teams, and business support teams.
Business crisis may manifest due to any possible failures in corporate planning or due to any unforeseen and unplanned contingency. Most of the corporates conceptualize the crisis management plan based on their specific visualization of crisis as relevant to their organization. Periodic rehearsals of possible scenarios always play a vital role in the outcome of the crisis management plan. Crisis management teams have a crucial role in the entire process and need keep abreast and updated throughout the crisis. By developing a crisis management plan, considering the possible stages of a crisis, and creating a team of people to help you through any unforeseen event or catastrophe, you’ll prevent your company from long-lasting, negative repercussions. Begin working on your crisis management plan and establishing connections with the people you’ll need assistance from along the way to prepare your business for any type of crisis.