Using Internal Communications for Crisis Management

Doesn’t it always seem like the most difficult times to reach people are when you need them the most? No truer words have been spoken than in the event of a dire emergency (and by emergency, I mean a real emergency such as needing medical assistance for a colleague, not the “I was supposed to have that done yesterday” ones we all know and love).

Unfortunately, accidents happen. Communication during the actual emergency is a separate discussion in itself, but putting in place effective communication methods can prepare you to handle the worst of situations. Even in the most stressful of times, you and your team can be prepared, organized and collected.

Just over half of companies have crisis plans in place*. And 100% of companies have a crisis at some point. Ok, so I might have made that last stat up but my point is that a large percentage of companies are ill equipped to handle a potential emergency. Even the most cool, calm and collected person gets flustered in a critical situation. A crisis plan can detail the who, what, when and where behind any crisis so there is a blueprint in place to help avoid making hasty and unprepared decisions.

Making a plan is only the first part. It’s useless if no one is equipped to be able to act on it. In the plan, detail who is responsible for what and ensure they understand what’s expected of them and how to do it. Think of it as being the passenger sitting in an exit row on an airplane. Nobody pays much attention to what they’re supposed to do until the plane goes down and they become the “go-to” person. Same for whoever is managing the crisis plan – always make sure they’re ready to go in case something happens.

Instant communication is key. If a company has 20,000 employees then guess what? They should have channels in place to reach all 20,000 employees. Obviously, this is a major challenge if there’s a large percentage of non-desk workers, but with today’s technology, there’s really no excuse to not be able to reach any employee instantaneously (please check out our white paper on communicating with non-desk workers for help). Other than the benefit of being better connected, it’s especially important with crisis management.

What plans and communication practices does your company have in place for unexpected events? 

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