05 Mar A Guide to Crisis Management
As defined by the Management Study Guide (MSG), a crisis is an emergency situation which disturbs employees and leads to instability within the organization. Typically, a workplace or organizational crisis affects a group, individual, business, or society as a whole (source). Although crises within a workplace can occur for a number of reasons, many can materialize from the following:
- Boycotts, strikes, and disputes amongst employees.
- Technology corruption: down internet systems; infiltration of bugs, viruses, or hackers; machine or software malfunction.
- Illegal activities such as fraud, data tampering, bribing.
In the event of an organizational crisis, owners, managers, and employees must implement a system that will protect them through this time while resolving the issue at hand– crisis management. This is a term used to describe the measures taken to rectify disorder in the workplace that’s caused by an unexpected event. With a strong and detailed crisis management plan, employees will have the ability to better understand the situation at hand, allowing them to adjust accordingly. Additionally, an excellent crisis management strategy will permit managers to take the necessary precautions in protecting themselves, their employees, and most importantly, their business as a whole.
Unfortunately, a crisis can occur at any time, within any company. In these situations, it’s critical for business owners to consider how this type of predicament will impact not only their business, but those who help make their business run smoothly and efficiently. The key to tackling these unexpected crises lies in your preparedness. Do you have a crisis management plan in place? Are you employees trained in what to do and what to expect in the face of a workplace emergency? If you don’t already have a crisis management plan in place, then it’s time to put one together.
Here are 5 steps that will help you better manage a crisis within the workplace:
1. Have a Clear Plan: A clear plan with specific objectives is a great start to building a strong crisis management plan. The intention of these objectives is to protect yourself and your employees–even the public depending on the type of business you are in–who might be affected by the issue at hand. In your plan, make sure that everyone affected and involved are kept informed every step of the way. Additionally, this plan should be kept in written form and include explicit measures that need to be taken during the crisis.
2. Appoint a Representative: Appointing a representative or spokesperson to keep the public or employees in the know is usually implemented by big businesses with great popularity amongst the public–high number of consumers. A representative will act as the voice of the company in media conferences, delivering a clear, concise message and ensuring consumers of a speedy plan of action to fix the problem. This representative must be prepared at all times, have extensive media training, and most importantly, be well-spoken.
3. Be Transparent with the Public and Employees: To keep the reputation of your business intact during the times of a crisis, you must remain open, honest, and transparent to both the public and your employees. Nothing generates negative media coverage and worry and skepticism amongst employees more than avoidance and concealment. Keeping an honest and open policy enforced will help to deflect the spreading of false rumors amongst employees and media sources.
4. Communication is Key: The last thing a company wants is for their loyal customers and suppliers to learn about their crisis through the media. Any information you have on the crisis on hand should be relayed directly from you to your customers and suppliers. This can easily be done through the means of a mass email or mailed letters. When speaking to your suppliers and consumers, be sure to rest their minds knowing that you and your team are doing everything possible to rectify the problem. This brings us to the last step.
5. Update Continually: Continual updates to suppliers, employees, and customers is key to keeping everyone happy. Your spokesman should be issuing statements as often as possible, especially when development and progress are being made.