Creating a Crisis Management Plan for Your Organization

June 08, 2019

In the face of a crisis, is your organization prepared to deal with the issue before it grows? In this age of technology, it’s impossible to bury a scandal. The best thing to do in a bad situation is to have a solid crisis management plan to fall back on.

A crisis management plan is simply a document that outlines the processes an organization will use to respond to a critical situation that would negatively affect its reputation, ability to operate, or profitability. Creating a new document or optimizing a previous plan is beneficial for every organization. There are a few key pieces to a crisis management plan that organizations should have in order to be successful in handling a crisis or media nightmare.

1.  Anticipate the crisis and create scenarios.

Get your team together to brainstorm any potential issues that could cause a stir. Write down all of these ideas and create steps to take for each scenario. Perhaps a small change in your procedures could prevent a crisis.

2. Designate roles.

When a crisis occurs, tensions and nerves are running high. Instead of panicking and assigning roles on a whim, preset roles ahead of time. This will allow those assigned people to prepare themselves completely for any situation. Common roles to assign:

  • Leader (usually the CEO)
  • Chief advisers to the leader
  • Subject-specific experts
  • Trained spokespeople for the media

3. Resources.

In the heat of the moment, a detailed section of your plan with resources your employees can easily refer to will be extremely beneficial. These resources can be anything that is helpful to your business. For example, timelines, log in credentials, and specific processes.

4. Contact lists.

Frantically searching for contact information in a time of need is not a good look for an organization. Having a thorough list of contacts in your plan will erase the stress of finding the correct contact in a timely manner. At a minimum, your contacts should include:

  • Each member of your crisis team
  • Each backup member of your crisis team
  • Stakeholder information
  • Third party consultants/experts that could help in specific situations

5. Strategy and messaging for crises

Communication is key in the midst of a crisis. Keeping your team, employees, and stakeholders in the loop is extremely important to prevent loss of revenue and reputation. The difficult part of communicating is getting that material approved quickly. You should have strategies in place beforehand, so creating communications materials is simple and can go through the process of getting approved as fast as possible.

6. Action plans.

During a crisis, your team should not be wondering what the next step is going to be. From your scenario brainstorming session, create checklists for everything. It’s impossible to predict the future, so make these checklists as flexible as possible to ensure you’re hitting every possible point. Each task in a checklist should be assigned to a person so they know exactly what they must do.

Putting out the fire before it grows is the goal of a detailed crisis management plan. You may not think your organization is vulnerable to crises, but if it were to happen one day it is best to be prepared. Need help creating a plan? Public Strategies Impact offers crisis management services to develop a crisis plan and train your team for the media. We can also be the correspondent on your behalf. Find out more about PSI’s crisis management services here.

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