To ensure its proper functioning, every company should have a crisis management plan. It allows for the coordination of the response to a major disruptive event to minimize the damage and impacts to your company’s profitability, reputation and ability to operate.
Since the objective of this article is to make you aware of the subject, we will only address certain aspects. It is still important to discuss your situation with a professional before starting any initiative in this area.
Establish an effective crisis management plan
How long will it take for a major incident to be detected, reported, communicated to the appropriate people and handled? This is the answer to which the crisis management plan provides the answer.
When developing this plan, the first thing to do is to create a list of scenarios that could occur, and then classify them according to a severity grid that includes different criteria and their associated severity. Among these criteria, we find the consequences of a “X” situation on employees, citizens, your organization and your assets as well as the perception of the general public regarding this crisis. It is then easier to establish clear guidelines that are applicable before, during and after the incident. These guidelines establish the strategic actions to be taken based on the severity of each criterion as well as the roles and responsibilities of each department.
The implementation of a simplified comprehensive plan, considering emergency measures and business continuity, makes it possible to deal with incidents affecting the health and safety of your employees and your operations.
In addition, it is beneficial to update the crisis management plan from time to time to ensure its relevance and accuracy.
Within your organization, it is important to have a clear idea of the different levels of authority in preparation for a crisis. Who will make strategic and tactical decisions? Who will execute the actions that have been set in place? How do you tie it all together with operations?
A crisis management committee is essential. Each invidual of this committee (the “members”) has a specific role and responsibilities. Alternates are also identified in case the primary role holders are not available. Of course, the native responsibilities of each member are always prioritized. For example, a human resources manager will obviously be assigned to tasks related to this department, in addition to performing additional tasks that are not normally part of his or her daily duties.
Here are a flurry of other examples of things to consider:
- What efforts do you need to make in terms of communications? For example, do you have message templates ready to share? Have you posted a generic message on your website/social media to demonstrate that you have taken control of the situation? etc.
- It is important to identify a meeting place for your team in the event of a crisis, ensuring that it is adequately equipped, including: quality internet, cell phone terminal, computer, etc.
- A formal statement is in order. For instance, to notify your insurers or any other stakeholder involved in your business of the incident in question.
Informing and mobilizing
The crisis management committee coordinator is usually the person responsible for informing the other members that a crisis is developing. At this alert stage, no action is taken yet. Then, if necessary, you move on to the next stage, mobilization. The strategic actions previously established in the plan will then be deployed.
For this to be successful, several factors are required: a commitment from senior management, an adequate communication strategy, realistic expectations from leaders, availability of resources, etc.
Mobilization is often a grey area. Indeed, the process varies depending on the type of organization, the people involved, but most importantly, the nature of the disruption.
An effective crisis management plan considers strategic, tactical and operational aspects to make your organization more resilient and better coordinated in the event of a major incident. The issues and challenges resulting from such a situation will then have less impact on the operational, financial, legal and reputational aspects. It helps to clarify, among other things, the “Who”, “When”, “What”, “Where”, “How”, “How much” and “Why”.
To briefly assess your capabilities in the event of a business interruption and to raise awareness of your level of preparedness, we invite you to use the self-assessment form available on our website: https://racetteconseils.com/en/self-assessment/
Do not hesitate to contact us so that we can assist you in the development or revision of your crisis management plan. Benoit Racette Consulting Services Inc. can help you be better prepared and accompany you in this process. Contact us now: [email protected]