In a survey conducted in recent years by Refresh Leadership, only 33 percent of respondents said their businesses were prepared to respond to a crisis. Even more alarming is that 32 percent of respondents currently had NO crisis plan in place. There are a variety of reasons that many businesses don’t have a crisis plan – they feel like they don’t have the time, they don’t have the internal resources to spearhead the effort, or they simply don’t know where to start. While I don’t think people view themselves as infallible, nor do I think any professional lives in the mindset that they’ll never face a crisis, I do think that most businesses feel they may have the combined internal skills to cope when faced with a crisis.
Coping isn’t preparation. Being reactive can make a crisis spin even further out of control, often times causing the affected party(ies) to consult outside help to assist with response, costing a lot of time and a lot of money. So, why is a crisis plan so important? Just the names Uber, United Airlines, Equifax and Facebook should give you a reason, but here are a few notable reasons:
It helps you be prepared for anything
Most often, a crisis is unpredictable. Whether it’s a major issue such as workplace violence, or a more internal issue such as significant staffing turnover, being prepared with the “what would we do” scenarios already identified will help in the stages of immediate response.
It helps establish the appropriate line of communication
This is important because it ensures that everyone knows who is doing what and how to take action when a crisis occurs. Identifying the key communications team and spokespeople will help prevent employees from responding off the cuff with information that will further cast a negative light on your business and become detrimental to the outcome.
It helps businesses keep all information in one place
Plans should include crisis response team members, sample company messaging, steps by scenario and contact lists for internal and external stakeholders – just to name the basics of a crisis manual. When a plan or manual exists and is made readily available to employees, it saves critical time when people don’t have to go actively searching for all of the information in different places.
Every business should make crisis planning a priority; while it is everyone’s hope that they’ll never experience a crisis and many businesses are successful at remaining crisis-free, a plan provides peace-of-mind for those just in case moments. Need help developing a crisis plan? Call us. We can help you identify potential crises that may threaten your business, help you draft powerful response messages, train your executive teams and employees and put together your final manual. And if you’re dealing with a crisis and you need any assistance in response, we’re also prepared to help.