It’s every business professional’s worst nightmare. Despite your preparedness efforts and best practices guides, you’ve got a crisis on your hands. Maybe it’s a natural disaster or maybe one of your warehouses was struck with a bad bout of the flu. Whatever your situation may be the key is acting quickly and efficiently. Not acting fast enough in a crisis can lead to not just a PR headache, but may have real and tangible effects on your business’ employees, financials, and future success.
Plan for the Unplanned
Just like your home should have an emergency plan in case of a fire or earthquake, your organization needs to know what it will do in the face of an unexpected challenge. The public relations manager and other management team members should work together to form a detailed plan of action should you come up against a crisis. While it’s never an easy task to anticipate the exact details of what may happen, the crisis management team should try to form a plan for different types of events. Acts of god, public relations blunders, medical concerns, unexpected employment loss, and sudden legal hiccups all require a different set of reactions and timelines.
Build Your Team
Creating crisis guidelines is useless without a team to act it out. You will likely need a public spokesperson to deal with media issues as well as trained behind-the-scenes employees who can work on written correspondence and other supporting roles. It’s also important to note that people not on your crisis management team should not be making statements independent of said team. During a crisis, it is important to speak with one voice to keep your message uniform and the information you distribute accurate.
Prepare the Right Supporting Structure
A standing crisis guideline can help you navigate the tricky and variable waters of a crisis, but having the underlying structure in place for executing that crisis plan is also crucial. What good is a plan that you can’t enact because your correspondence is out of order or your audit system has a huge backlog? Having all your ducks in a row is useful when your ducks are suddenly thrown into a tornado. At least you have a record of what order your ducks were in when disaster struck.
This is where case management automation comes into play. There are tons of applications for this sort of business processing tool. HR management, audits, criminal investigations, and correspondence are some of the most common automation areas. Let’s break it down by business vertical:
HR Crisis Management – This one is pretty straightforward. Having profiles and reports on your employee hiring rates, salaries, and other information can be pretty helpful when you need answers fast. You may also find that you need to hire new employees quickly to deal with increased work demand surrounding the crisis. The HR department needs to be ready to mitigate downtime and cooperate with other departments that may need HR data quickly. Automated Human Resources info can really come in handy for events like strikes, cybersecurity breaches, and employee involvement in theft or other illegal activities.
Correspondence Crisis Management – Organizations, agencies, and businesses send and receive tons of messages every day. It’s important to be able to organize and export these correspondences in order to cooperate with legal authorities or combing through documents for facts. A reliable correspondence messaging system is also crucial for the crisis team working in real time. Case management tools that let you associate messages to specific sets of documents can keep your crisis team focused and organized. Correspondence crisis management needs may crop up when dealing with lawsuits, PR blunders, disputes between employees or other organizations, and leaked confidential information.
Audit and Investigations – It is incredibly important that organizations look into criminal backgrounds and keep tabs on inventory and financials. Automation software can produce reports that help a crisis team notice patterns and find data they can use in diffusing crisis situations. Reports drawn from audit and investigations data can be extremely helpful when dealing with legal dealings, fraud, and other financial crises.
To sum it all up, to deal with a corporate crisis your organization should have an emergency plan, a well-trained team, and automated case management structure in place to help execute your emergency plan quickly and without error.
Courtney James is AINS’ Marketing & Graphic Design Associate. She has experience with social media, public relations, graphic design, event management, and many other marketing topics. Courtney loves to blog about topics dealing with technology in government, social media, and case management. She holds degrees in Communication and Art from the University of Maryland, College Park.