August 19, 2016
No need to dread if you plan ahead
While many crises are unpredictable, that’s no excuse not to plan ahead. We find that most companies are not prepared for a crisis; therefore, they don’t know how to react when one occurs.
“It can’t happen to us.”
Stop thinking and saying this because it couldn’t be further from the truth. Even well-prepared companies encounter crises; all the difference is in the handling of the situation. In most crisis situations, those involved become confused about what to do and how to manage everything. This could actually make the crisis worse.
Many people think that a crisis only arises when there’s an accident or death on company property. However, there are many different types of crises, all of which can affect your company. Common crises that many don’t initially think about include:
- Environmental issues (like chemical or oil spills)
- Social media gaffes that go viral
- Circulating incorrect documents
- Spokesperson relationships turned sour
- Changes in the economic climate
- Software failures causing the system to break down
Being unprepared for a crisis is like taking a test you didn’t study for: You don’t know what to do and your chances of failing are extremely high. Preparation is key. If you don’t have a crisis plan already in place, now is a great time to start one.
Here are some ways to make sure you’re prepared:
- Create a detailed crisis plan.
- Train your staff with regular practice drills.
- Outline specific and reliable protocols for communicating to staff members during an emergency.
- Constantly revise and update your plan.
Internal support after a crisis
Crises usually leave those involved traumatized long after they’re over. Here are a few ways to help:
- Make grief counseling services available.
- Grant staff time off from work.
- If there were any fatalities, make memorial efforts: Start a foundation or charity, put up a plaque, create a Facebook memorial page – anything.
- Make adjustments to your crisis plan.
- Elicit feedback from employees.
Planning ahead for a crisis is crucial for any organization. There are several ways to prepare your team that could help lessen the impact on your company, employees and the community. To make sure you are prepared, contact Axia Public Relations to discuss creating a crisis plan unique to your company’s needs or download our e-book Managing Public Relations in a Crisis.
Featured image credit: 123rf.com