One of the worst things that can happen to your company is for you to become complacent with how things are right now. A corporate crisis is a reality most businesses are unprepared for. According to the published reports, 29% of companies have no staff dedicated to crisis management; however, 69% have experienced a crisis in the last five years.
No matter how good your business ideas may be unanticipated issues with your production pipeline, cash flow or clients can cause your business huge problems. This is where writing and adhering to a crisis management plan can significantly mitigate the harm of crisis scenarios to your business. Let’s take a closer look at what goes into writing one, as well as the upsides of having such a plan in place in 2021.
The Benefits of Writing a Crisis Management Plan
The purpose of crisis management is to proactively address common issues found within your industry. Whether you specialize in eCommerce sales, robotics engineering, or SaaS outsourcing, some form of crisis scenario can happen at any time. This makes planning for such events pivotal, as a timely response can help reduce the harm done by the crisis. According to PR News Online, about 62% of companies have crisis plans, but it is debatable as to how often they are updated or reviewed. Additionally, 55% of managers listed employee ethics and compliance with company standards, and 39% did so with mismanagement as the most instigators of the corporate crisis.
Writing a crisis management plan can also help you detect possible bottlenecks and issues which have gone unnoticed so far. Improvements to your internal and external communication, as well as employee engagement and agency with day-to-day workflow, can also improve thanks to proper crisis management. The key takeaways in regards to the benefits associated with writing a crisis management plan for your business are:
- Improved public image with both B2B and B2C stakeholders
- Increased employee safety, morale, and productivity
- Improved data management and storage processes
- Reduced risk of cyber-security and corporate threats
- Room for business portfolio and production pipeline improvements
Writing a Solid Crisis Management Scenario for your Business
Assess Potential Crisis Scenarios
In order to start writing your crisis management plan, you will need to create a list of crisis scenarios that your business is susceptible to. This list varies from industry to industry but typically involves events that would impact your business’ financial stability, staff morale, or data security.
Take your hardware and software infrastructure, supply chain, and staff management pipeline into consideration when creating your crisis list. Consult department heads, IT, and HR in regards to common issues that could escalate and cause severe corporate damage. Once you have a crisis list, prioritize them from the most to least dangerous for the sake of clarity.
Write Action Plans for Each Scenario
How should your staff react in case of a crisis? Writing plans for each of the scenarios you’ve outlined will allow you to objectively direct your staff on how to proceed in case of emergency. Define an activation protocol, or trigger, for each scenario that would signal the staff to proceed with implementing the crisis plan.
Afterward, list the steps your staff should take to mitigate the damage and ensure their own and the safety of your corporate data. Depending on the nature of the crisis, your plan should also direct the staff to leave the building or go to the nearest safety zone. Finally, each crisis plan should include an “endpoint” which would indicate that the plan is in effect and that the crisis is now minimized.
Develop your Crisis Chain of Authority
The best way to speed up the implementation of crisis management plans is to define a chain of authority outside your corporate ladder. Appoint managers, specialists, and team members who will directly be in charge of implementing crisis management procedures in case of emergency. This will significantly improve the effectiveness of your plan and allow for better clarity of who is in charge of what if things go wrong.
Timothy Willis, Technical Writer at Get Good Grade spoke on the matter recently: “Having a clear pipeline of who’s in charge of managing a crisis will allow you to manage multiple events at once. No matter if you write papers online remotely or offer services to your clients from a dedicated office space, an emergency event can happen regardless. Be proactive instead of reactive and write a crisis plan for your business to avoid unnecessary loss of revenue or in extreme cases, life itself.”
Set Up Internal Data Security Protocols
Whether your crisis revolves around financial issues, staff ethics, or cyber-security, proper data protocols should be in effect to ensure the safety of corporate data. Make sure that each of your crisis scenarios has a clear course of action on how the staff should handle corporate data storage properly. This is especially important for crisis scenarios involving natural disasters, major power outages, or cyber-security intrusions.
However, even with the best crisis management plan in place, data safety and stability can still be compromised due to unanticipated hardware or network faults. This is where using Quickbooks data recovery solutions can come into play as the service will allow you to preserve or recover lost data easily. Ensure that your crisis management plan has a data recovery mechanism in place as a preventative measure to further boost your data infrastructure’s stability.
Train your Employees to Use the Crisis Management Plan
Once you’ve defined your crisis management plan, you should onboard your staff regardless of whether you have a dedicated crisis team in place. Organize a company-wide seminar or create a crisis scenario how-to document and send it to your staff for mandatory reading if the company is big. You can also train department managers and have them communicate the processes to their teams to avoid confusion or staff training mismanagement.
This will ensure that everyone on your staff is familiar with the newly-written crisis management plan and are ready to react in case of emergency. Your staff will also have valuable insight and feedback on how solid your crisis management plan really is. It is especially important to train your staff in crisis scenarios that directly relate to their physical wellbeing, so take the time to do so.
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Proactive Crisis Management (Conclusion)
A good crisis management plan should objectively communicate the action steps your staff should take in case of a corporate emergency. Once anyone can take a look at your plan and know how to act on it, you will have succeeded in writing a solid plan.
Always leave the door open for further crisis management refinement and the addition of scenarios that were overlooked in the initial writing process. Naturally, specific crisis scenarios will vary depending on your industry and the scale at which you operate. Regardless, they are a precautionary mechanism that will ensure your staff’s and business’ wellbeing through proactive risk assessment and management.
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