Every company should plan for crises, and it’s never too early to start.
Planning ahead is the best way to reduce financial and reputational impacts of a crisis on your organization. Here are three advantages of planning for crises: 1) better understanding what resources are needed to weather the storm; 2) look for new opportunities that may present themselves within the crisis; 3) preparing an entire organization for turbulent periods to reduce the impact of the crisis.
A Better Understanding of Your Crisis Capabilities
Today, there is an increased awareness that crisis management teams need to better understand their capabilities. These are the managers who will guide your organization through all types of crises – whether they be natural disasters, violent intruders or cyber-breach incidents. However, many organizations still do not have a strong grasp on what exactly comprises these capabilities and how to develop them.
Your key players during any emergency situation are likely those with technology know-how as well as financial resources at hand – for example, if you’re dealing with an cyber-attack by hackers, then most likely your CISO would be leading the charge alongside legal counsel and PR professionals. Other Crisis Management Team members should also be part of the decision-making team.
There are many different types of crisis that can occur, but they generally fall into two categories: natural disasters or human-caused crises (e.g., an online security breach). It is no longer enough for organizations to have protocols in place only when disaster strikes. Instead, crisis management teams must be prepared at all times and should regularly conduct training and simulation exercises with their team members involved through the entire process – from detection to response and mitigation phases of critical situations . By doing so , you ensure that your organization has a better understanding of its capabilities during these tense moments where time is not on your side.
Related: The Crisis Simulation – Scenario Planning
New Opportunity’s Will Present Themselves During Crises
While you are busy figuring out how to deal with the current crisis at hand, opportunities will present themselves. New opportunities will be uncovered and you should take advantage of them while they are there for the taking. This is a great time to grow your business further either by developing new products or services, look for ways to expand into different markets, etc.
To take advantage, you will want to be prepared for this time by developing a strategy that is built upon your strengths while working around or fixing the weaker areas in order to get ready for market conditions before they change again. This way, when business picks up, you will be able to capitalize on the new opportunities that come your way. Consider the changes that your organization made during COVID-19.
A New Way Of Doing Things: Crisis-Driven Innovation
Once you learn how to cope during these situations without losing too much ground or revealing sensitive information, consider implementing new ways of doing things that came about because of the way in which your organization responded successfully (or unsuccessfully) during such events. These changes could range anywhere from better cyber security awareness after an online security breach, conducting regular training exercises for all team members or updating security protocols to prevent future attacks.
These are just some of the ways that you can adapt and evolve during a crisis in order to ensure your organization is better prepared for the next time one occurs. As mentioned earlier, crises aren’t always negative; they often create opportunities for people to voice their ideas about how things should be done differently or more efficiently.
Remaining resilient through tough times will help make sure your company makes it out on top – whether this means moving forward with new technologies , processes or procedures due to changes made as result of past events.
Related: Crisis Management: A Guide to Training Your Team
Prepare The Whole Organization
A company’s ability to respond effectively in these instances will depend on how prepared it was before such events ever occurred and what structures they have in place.
The first step is to ensure that everyone in the organization, from top level executives and board members down to clients and suppliers are aware of what crisis management entails. Training is a good foundation for this.
A crisis management employee awareness training course is an important element of any company’s overall risk mitigation strategy. This type of program helps businesses to identify what can go wrong, why it might happen and how employees should respond in the event that they are faced with a potential or actual emergency situation at work. It encourages them to be proactive about their own safety and security and of those around them. Providing training for partners and other key stakeholders should also be considered.
This type of training can be instrumental in helping employees and other important stakeholders to understand how they should act if there is a fire or other emergency at work, what steps are appropriate when someone has made a threat or injured themselves, whether for minor or life threatening injuries, and what procedures need to take place immediately following any incident. A crisis management employee awareness training program can also provide employees with the knowledge they need to respond appropriately when dealing with an interruption in electricity or water, a major public emergency such as a hurricane and even how to react if there is a incident on site such as an active shooter.
Then, it’s important for each department within an organization—from legal, marketing and public relations teams—to understand its role during a crisis at all times. See this blog on what every crisis team should have in their tool box.
Finally companies need to make sure they have plans in place which can be activated quickly when needed. These include:
- Crisis Management Plans (CMP) – A crisis management plan is a document that includes procedures for dealing with major disruptions or emergencies. It’s essential to have this in place, so anyone who has the authority to act quickly and decisively during an emergency can do so without having to think about what they need to do next. The team must also be able to communicate effectively within itself so that everyone knows what’s going on and is able to act quickly.
- Crisis Communications Plans (CCP) – How will they inform stakeholders about what’s happening? Who within the company is responsible for communicating with each type of stakeholder e.g. employees, customers, suppliers etc.? What are their key messages in different scenarios or circumstances? Will media relations be handled internally by someone from PR/Comms team or externally via an agency?
- Business Continuity Plan (BCP) – helps protect your organization against catastrophe and disruption, whether natural or man-made. Just like the risk management program implements controls designed to reduce risks facing an organization, the BCP includes policies and procedures that ensure critical functions continue in case of emergency with minimal interruption to the business.
- Disaster Recovery Plan – establishes the business’s critical IT functions and specifies their priority. When a company fails to recover from an outage, it may be due to not having clearly identified its mission-critical systems. For example, does your network handle 100% of your communications or is email only 25% of your total messaging? A good disaster recovery plan will define these mission-critical systems.
- Emergency Action Plan – is a series of steps that are taken to address any threats or dangers. It should be put together for all types of emergencies, including natural disasters, workplace violence incidents and medical problems. Every business needs one no matter how small it might be because you never know when an issue could arise. An EAP will help keep everyone safe and keep the business running as normal.
Do you have other plans that help support your organization to remain resilient?
To conclude, the process of crisis management is not a simple one; it must be approached with strategy and preparedness in mind. Organizations need to ensure their teams are trained and ready for any type of emergency situation – but they also must make sure that training and exercises do not become monotonous or boring over time.
PreparedEx’s training and exercises are memorable and engage all participants based on their role and working environment. If you’re interested in finding out about our crisis management services, contact us today and one of our CM experts will contact you.