Why It’s Time to Start Streamlining Internal Crisis Communications
When managing critical events, communication matters. It matters a lot. Effective crisis communication is crucial to crisis and critical events management. A component of effective crisis management that’s proven too easy to ignore, though, is the need to streamline internal crisis communications.
Streamlining internal crisis communications not prioritized
Well, an entire industry has grown up around the need to formalise external communications to the public, media, and other important stakeholders. Public Relations comes in; professional press announcements go out; the C-suite gets trained; not a word left to chance.
Sure, the trappings of an expert external communications outfit are important. But no less important is the timing, speed, accuracy, and substance of the messages themselves.
Those factors, of course, remain dependent on the quality of internal crisis communications. Internal crisis communications don’t just find their way into public-facing messaging. They’re also crucial to getting crisis decision making right in the first place.
However, too few teams work on streamlining internal crisis communications, or routinising the way information flows at every stage of the crisis management lifecycle. Specifically, they remain blithely unaware of the many ways in which the overload of information sources (e.g., email, text, informal chat, off-the-record debriefs) prevent the orderly flow of crisis communication. What are the main consequences?
- Appointed crisis teams get bogged down. Chat and chat services keep growing in kind. But too much chat on too many chat streams, without even factoring email and paper logs, simply overwhelms crisis practitioners, especially during an active crisis.
- Relevant information gets ignored. Conducting so many disparate conversations on so many disparate services only increases the chance that valuable pieces of information won’t be adequately considered or even seen at all.
- Sensitive data might get leaked. Plenty of services fall short of enterprise-grade privacy and security standards. That means that private conversations over them are liable to be hacked and leaked. Those conversations about critical issues often include senior stakeholders. When informal, out-of-context chats get leaked, they tend to trigger major reputational crises on top of the underlying crisis issue being discussed in the first place.
Factors to consider when streamlining internal communications
What can be done, instead? Maintaining crisis communication hygiene needs to be its own competency within the larger crisis management capability.
Of course, it helps if crisis chat can be blended with more structured information in a secure environment related to the orderly flow of crisis information. That’s because maintaining a secure record of communications can be extremely valuable when trying to understand the chronology of events for a post incident report.
To do so, crisis management software, with in built chat functionality, should come equipped with multiple layers of security. Crisis leaders should find a service that is secure at both the application and infrastructure levels. Remember, standards and certifications matter here. For instance, find a service that offers the latest standard in transport layer security.
What’s more, data centres should also be in compliance. Plenty of technology vendors have migrated to the cloud. That means sensitive data is now more likely to be housed in data centres. As such, it’s critical to ensure that your vendor’s data centres are themselves certified to ISO27001 and fully compliant with the legal and regulatory strictures of the region they’re in.
Free-for-all crisis communications can get you in trouble, while degrading the overall crisis response. It’s important, therefore, to integrate chat within a secure crisis management solution.
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