Risk Insight: Don’t Forget Your Employees During a Crisis
When a crisis strikes, it is natural to focus on communication to external stakeholders regarding the situation. Protecting your organization’s image and reputation is a vital component of your business continuity and recovery efforts.
While thinking about external audiences is critical, one key audience can get lost along the way…your employees. As important as we think our external audiences are, your employees are the building blocks to your continued success. If your team does not understand the situation at hand, your business has a lower chance of a positive outcome.
Continuity planning is not simply good risk management, it is smart business. Not only should your continuity plan include communications, but the foundation of those communications should also be targeted at your employees.
A great rule of thumb is to talk to your internal stakeholders prior to the public. Things can move extremely fast during a crisis, but you want your employees to hear news from you before they learn it from media outlets or social media feeds.
Make expectations clear
When communicating with employees, do not be afraid to set expectations regarding a crisis. Remind them how things are handled with external stakeholders and tell them what actions to expect from your organization. Providing sample language and responses to employees can be useful in case they receive questions on the crisis.
Consider having multiple ways to communicate with your staff during a crisis. Those channels should not be connected to each other to allow for greater flexibility if a situation disables one of your systems.
Test your plan
Running regular drills with your team will allow individuals to feel more comfortable and prepared in the event a crisis occurs. Part of those exercises should be testing your internal communication channels to make sure they work properly.
An event that causes your organization to move into crisis mode is not the time to create new channels for communicating with your employees. With good planning and preparation, your staff can be an asset to mitigating reputational risks and be the cornerstone of helping to get your organization back to business.
During a difficult situation, organizations should make sure their internal stakeholders are at the heart of their actions and efforts. Building and testing your crisis communication plan is the best way to remove stress and risk during a high-profile event.
Employees are the backbone of organizations, and when a crisis occurs, these individuals need to be prepared to help mitigate risk. Reach out to your M3 account executive to ensure your employees are part of a seamless crisis communication plan.