The Importance of Crisis Communication
The importance of crisis communication
The importance of crisis communication cannot be understated; the ability to enable seamless communication within your organization (and to the public if necessary) is a valuable skill in today’s workplace, where it seems that the likelihood of a crisis is higher than ever before.
Financial. Technological. Personnel. Natural. Organizational. There are many different types of crises that call for different crisis communication techniques.
You can’t always prevent a crisis. However, you can have a plan in place so that communication surrounding a potential crisis is quick, honest and effective. Preparation is essential when it comes to crisis communication. Once you figure out what you’re going to do, you must figure out the best way to relay that plan to your audience. We’re here to help with that.
Areas of crisis communication include things like employee handbooks, messaging on your website, social media statements, eBlasts, newsletters and public service announcements. These are all platforms and avenues where your organization has the ability to relay a message. The options are vast and you can choose which works best for your particular situation.
You’ve likely heard the expression, It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Even if you don’t have all the answers, it’s important to communicate calmly and matter-of-factly. At a time when things feel chaotic or unstable, a strong crisis communication plan can be your guide for what needs to happen in the days, weeks, months and even years to follow. That’s the impact of crisis communication.
Why is a crisis communication plan necessary?
A crisis communication plan is necessary because realistically, it’s not a matter of if your organization will experience a crisis, but when. We are living in a time of uncertainty with crises seeming to occur almost daily. From a pandemic and extreme weather occurrences to cyberattacks and more, the inevitability that a crisis will affect your organization is more likely than ever before. In addition, today’s crises are very different than those even a few years ago. They escalate faster, likely have a broader impact and elicit more extreme reactions and demands for real and immediate action. The purpose of a crisis communication plan is to be prepared for any possible scenario so that when it may occur, your organization is ready. A crisis communication plan will provide the guidelines for dealing with an emergency, including the necessary steps to take in the days, weeks, months and even years following the event.
Now, more than ever, the implications of being unprepared for a crisis can have a devastating effect on your organization. It’s never been more important to have a good crisis communications plan in place. If you don’t already have one, now is the time to get started. Your first task is to evaluate your organization’s readiness. How prepared are you if a crisis hits your organization tomorrow? Do you have an employee notification system in place? Who will speak for your organization in media interviews during the crisis? If these questions have your head spinning, read on. Let’s design a plan together. (And be sure to check out these crisis communication plan examples!)
What elements should all crisis communication plans include?
Is your workplace prepared for a crisis?
It’s time to build (or fine-tune) your plan. Reference our crisis management plan checklist of everything that crisis communication plans should include ensuring that you are ready for an emergency. Here’s an overview to get you started on a solid plan:
Create a crisis response team with representation from leadership, HR, communications, IT and potentially impacted departments or channels—and assign roles to each team member.
Consider all potential crisis scenarios, their potential impact (i.e., local, national, etc.), who should be notified, etc.
Identify subject matter experts, dependent on the crisis scenario, to be spokespersons—and getting them media trained.
Create template fact sheets, key messages, Q & As, and communications for internal and external audiences (including media) that can be quickly modified for any crisis.
Conduct mock crisis exercises with your team, ideally at least twice a year.
Completing these important steps in crisis communication will make your organization stronger, more confident and prepared for emergencies. Ready to get started? AOE has deep expertise in developing crisis plans and will work with you to help build the optimal communications for your employees, clients, customers and other interested parties—no matter what the crisis. For more information, reach out to us today and be sure to visit AOE’s Crisis Communications Microsite.