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What’s Going on with Collaboration in Crisis Management?

Covid proved a wake-up call for most organizations. They belatedly realized the importance of having an effective crisis management capability. But studies suggest forward movement has stalled. What’s one of the crucial areas in which it has? You guessed it, collaboration.

What’s going on with collaboration in crisis management? Read on to find out.

Confidence in crisis management on the wane

Well, the broader context is that confidence in crisis management programs is beginning to wane.

According to the 2023 BCI Crisis Management Report, fewer than two thirds (61 per cent) of respondents rate their organization’s crisis management capabilities as good or higher. Two years prior, in contrast, some three quarters of respondents rated their organization’s crisis management capabilities as good or higher.

That’s quite the come down. And part of the reason is collaboration.

Indeed, nearly three in ten organizations continue to consider silos to be a concern.

The main factors limiting collaboration in crisis management

What, then, is contributing to silos and limiting collaboration in crisis management?

Again, according to the survey data, staff lack awareness of crisis plans. Nearly 30 per cent of respondents agreed that wider staff is unaware of crisis plans and that has or could lead to confusion in a crisis situation.

What’s worse, those figures, staggering on their own, represent a near-10 per cent increase from 2021.

However, they’re not the only factors limiting collaboration in crisis management. The others include:

  • Twenty-nine per cent of respondents agree that plans are not shared across the organization.
  • Twenty-six per cent of respondents agree that they don’t change crisis team members out often enough.
  • Twenty-three per cent of respondents agree that their crisis teams work in siloed environments.

Measures to improve collaboration in crisis management and address communication gaps

These are all serious concerns. And so, the question remains, what can be done to improve collaboration in crisis management as well as address communication gaps and isolated working practices?

Following the lifecycle of crisis communication, for one, helps to ensure the right messages go to the relevant audiences during critical events. The stages of the lifecycle include the following:

  • Pre-crisis.Making the decision to manage potential crises and training people who will be involved
  • Collecting, processes, and disseminating crisis messages, using crisis communications software.
  • Post-crisis.Assessing the crisis management effort and providing follow-up messages as needed

Beyond nailing down those fundamentals, organizations should get in the habit of collating relevant information and knowledge assets into the crisis communication plan, which should be widely distributed and regularly updated.

The first step involved, here, in building a best-practice crisis communication plan is understanding the plan’s purpose and scope. That entails laying out what you’re trying to accomplish with the plan and what material will be covered in it.  

The crisis communication planning process also helps organizations determine which audiences they’re likeliest to communicate with during a crisis. Relevant audiences are likely to include:

  • Internal employees and families
    • Senior management
    • Crisis response team and other frontline responders
    • All staff
  • Customers
  • News media
  • Policymakers and regulators
  • Suppliers and other partners
  • The community

Of course, there’s far more to improving collaboration in crisis management and addressing communication gaps than understanding the purpose and scope of a crisis communication plan. What else is there? Download our Best-Practice Guide to Crisis Communication and Collaboration to find out.

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