What are crisis management plans and why do you need them?
Frankly, the evidence is frightening. Sure, companies no longer feel they are immune to crisis. But they are doing precious little to prepare for the eventuality of likely crises in their industries. What should companies be doing? It’s called crisis management planning, i.e. proactively assessing and addressing vulnerabilities to avoid or minimize the impact of crises.What about the plans themselves? Crisis management plans are a set of processes that crisis management teams (in coordination with other relevant business units) put in place before crisis strikes to manage the effects of disruptive incidents, whether by avoiding them altogether or mitigating their effect. And the typical plan incorporates emergency response, crisis communications, as well as the steps crisis management teams should take to trigger an official crisis. As crisis management expert, Jonathan Bernstein puts it:
The content of the [crisis management] plan evolves from the information you gathered in steps 1 and 2, above [reverse-engineering your industry’s crises and conducting a vulnerability audit]. It contains sections on operational response, communications response, and how the respective teams responsible for those two components will coordinate with each other. And it fully integrates the use of all media for communication — traditional and social, high-tech and low-tech.
The plans will deal with likely crisis scenarios in your business and for your industry. Common corporate crises include cyber and safety, environmental disasters, reputational threats, leadership, governance failures, liquidity or capital problems, etc.
Who’re the people involved in crisis management planning? The short answer: everyone. Your entire staff has to be involved in crisis recovery, so it’s important that they’re all prepared and understand the roles they’ll play. That’s not to say that some teams will be more involved than others in planning for certain types of disturbances. But even then, keeping everyone in the firm apprised of how to continue business processes in the event of a crisis is also critically important.
To learn more about why your organization needs crisis management plans, download our introductory guide to crisis management planning.
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