How to Prepare Your Business for the Unexpected
No business is immune to crisis.
Those that are well-prepared are often better equipped to weather the storm and emerge stronger on the other side.
Why is Crisis Management Important?
Crisis management is the art of navigating unexpected events, minimizing damage, and quickly returning to business as usual. “Almost every crisis contains within itself the seeds of success as well as the roots of failure,” according to the Harvard Business Review. Skilled crisis management involves tapping into the potential for success, while crisis mismanagement can escalate a difficult situation. Finding the right balance is crucial. Whether you are facing a natural disaster, an economic downturn, or a public relations disaster, there are steps you can take to prepare for the unexpected.
Here are some strategies to help businesses ensure that they survive and thrive through uncertain situations.
Crisis Management Strategies:
Develop a Crisis Plan
The first step in effective crisis management is to develop a comprehensive crisis plan. This plan should outline the steps you will take in the event of a crisis, who will be responsible for each task, and what resources you will need. A good crisis plan should cover everything from evacuation procedures and emergency communications, to media relations and recovery efforts. According to a PR crisis survey conducted by PRNEWS, a significant proportion of companies, over 60%, have established crisis plans. It remains uncertain how frequently these plans are reviewed and updated. It is important to make sure that all employees are familiar with the plan and conduct regular drills to test and refine it.
To prepare for a crisis, it is important to identify the potential risks your business faces. This might include natural disasters, cyber-attacks, supply chain disruptions, or other threats. Once you have identified these risks, prioritize them and develop ways to minimize the impact if they should occur. By identifying risks, companies can create contingency plans, allocate resources effectively, and ensure they have the necessary procedures in place to quickly and effectively respond to a crisis situation.
Communicate with Your Employees
Clear and consistent communication is key to effective crisis management. Make sure that your employees are aware of the risks your business faces and what steps you have taken to mitigate those risks. Train your employees on emergency procedures and make sure that they have the necessary tools and resources to carry out their roles in the event of a crisis. Salesforce found that over 85% of employees and executives believe that the primary reason for workplace failures is the inadequacy of collaboration and communication. When employees are not working together effectively, it can also create a lack of clarity and alignment around priorities, resulting in inefficient use of time, resources, and missed opportunities. It is crucial for companies to prioritize effective collaboration and communication in a time of crisis to foster a culture of teamwork and mutual support in the workplace.
Establish a Crisis Team
In the event of a crisis, it is important to have a dedicated crisis team in place. This team should be responsible for managing the crisis, making decisions, and communicating with stakeholders. The team should include representatives from various departments within your organization, as well as external experts as needed. PwC’s Global Crisis Survey 2021 highlights the crucial importance of having a well-prepared crisis plan in place. The study found that having a dedicated crisis response team and a flexible crisis response plan that can adapt to various challenges is essential for businesses of all sizes to navigate through a crisis effectively.
Build Strong Relationships
Finally, it is important to build strong relationships with key stakeholders, including customers, suppliers, employees, and the media. Establishing a strong relationship with these stakeholders can help you to quickly resolve any issues that arise and minimize the impact of a crisis on your business.
Effective crisis management requires preparation, planning, and quick thinking. By taking steps to identify risks, communicate with employees, establish a crisis team, and build strong relationships, you can help to minimize the impact of a crisis on your business and emerge stronger on the other side.