When it comes to the frantic pace of our workdays, many workers are often consumed with mounting to-do lists alongside deadlines that require “immediate” attention or “more important” jobs needing to be prioritized. In a crisis situation, this has the potential to lead people towards significant complications in their workflow.
A crisis requires a quick response and, if mismanaged, can result in loss of profits, job loss, increased litigation, reputation damage, decreased employee morale, increased consumer activism, and reduced trust in the management of the organization. Making sure that you and your team have a well-developed crisis communication plan can help ensure that you have the proper infrastructure to help you respond as needed to a range of different crises.
A good leader understands the importance of preparing for a crisis. Trust and communication can be the most important factor needed to maintain the integrity of the business and minimize further reputational risk while recovering from the impact of a crisis.
To deal with these situations effectively, management must ensure that the principles of excellent communication are being implemented.
Here we provide suggestions for some effective Crisis management techniques that will ensure your business and reputation are protected.
- Begin development of an extensive crisis management plan which has specific details related to who can activate the procedure and under what circumstances.
- Formalized procedures will work to outline steps needed to be taken regarding internal and external activation, including who is responsible for what and what channels will be employed.
- Recruit a Crisis Communication team. This dream team will be responsible for collecting information, managing direct calls, creating and distributing key messages and overall responsibility for speaking directly to media.
- Develop proper procedures for your internal communications: plan out how communication will work once a crisis occurs, determine how employees will receive key messages- whether through department meetings, voicemail, the company intranet, or a combination.
- Develop key messages that show clear communication and empathy while still remaining authoritative and friendly. We know, this can be a difficult task which is why many public relations companies offer crisis management services.
- Develop a Crisis Management Plan with a unique concentration on social media including Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. By communicating with your built-in audience, goodwill can be established and help provide some needed support during a difficult time.
- Employees should also be made aware of your organization’s media and social media policy. They should be advised that they are not to talk to the press unless given specific instructions or roles in the crisis team.
- Media Training: practical communication skills are critical during times of crisis. Media training will help spokespeople learn different skills in order to interact with the media in specific crises or stressful situations where they must be in the public eye.
- Identify and ensure that your spokesperson undergoes continued training alongside other workers in your organization whose responsibilities may include speaking with the media, especially in the event of a crisis.
- It is critical for all lists, including public health departments, police, and fire departments, to be available to you as, during a crisis, you will not have time to go searching for phone numbers or contact details.
- Prepare a media list to include contact information for local, national, trade press, and influential industry bloggers. Reaching out to media and maintaining goodwill with them is still equally as important if not more so outside of a crisis situation.
- Keep the information flowing and provide your team with the necessary updates regularly. This will help keep them in the know, maintain company morale, and ensure their confidence remains high during times of uncertainty and change.
- Once the crisis is coming to a halt or slowing, monitor media coverage to ensure there is no lingering chatter.
- Prepare a brief report or statement which outlines the cause of the crisis, how and who each job was handled by, successes and failures, and recommendations for change. Document whether further follow-up is required with media, employees, families, or others.