When a business experiences a crisis, the way the organization responds can dramatically affect the outcome. This is especially important in today’s digital age, when information is readily available and easily accessible at the click of a button via the internet. To avoid any potential PR nightmares, all businesses should have a crisis management plan in place. Let’s explore five best practices to help prepare ahead for any situation.
Establish a crisis management team. Who will be in charge in the event that a crisis occurs? Who will handle internal communication to employees as well as external information, such as announcements, updates and resolutions? Who will be responsible for conducting the internal crisis management investigation? Having this information worked out ahead of time can vastly improve the speed with which the issue at hand is handled and ultimately resolved.
Develop “what-if” scenarios. When it comes to crisis management, the best defense is a good offense. Knowing ahead of time what potential problems could arise can help map out a tentative plan for addressing the situation in the most timely and effective manner. The designated crisis management team should spend some time brainstorming and developing “what-if” scenarios as well as documenting next steps and best practices.
Create guidelines for the investigation process. Internal crisis management investigations are an essential part of the process, as they serve to identify root causes of crises, as well as who or what was responsible. Not only does this information help with a speedy and efficient resolution, but it also allows the organization to better plan ahead to prevent such situations from occurring again in the future. In many cases, hiring an external third party to handle internal crisis management investigations is the wisest and most effective option.
Establish guidelines for communications. Not only is it important to determine who will handle each aspect of the crisis management process, but it’s also critical to establish how information will be shared and disseminated before any problems arise. As the internal crisis management investigation is being conducted, what details can and should be shared with employees and/or the general public and how? This communication strategy should be incorporated in the overall plan and referred to throughout the process to ensure compliance.
Conduct ongoing assessments and training. As with anything else in the business world, things change and policies and procedures should be regularly updated to adapt to these changes. A company’s crisis management plan is no exception. In fact, to ensure the best possible outcome, the crisis management team should regularly evaluate their plans and participate in ongoing training.
No business is immune from potential crises, whether it’s an unexpected audit finding, a criminal activity investigation, or something else. The way your organization handles such a situation can mean the difference between a quick and uneventful resolution or an irreparably damaged reputation, which could ultimately impact your bottom line. If you need assistance preparing a plan or you’d like to enlist the help of an experienced professional to handle your internal crisis management investigation, give us a call today.