Would Your Firm Sink or Swim in a Crisis?

As the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing threat of natural disasters have shown us, disaster can strike suddenly.

Crises can take many forms, like the death of an owner, one of your products causing death or injury, or an earthquake damaging your building, forcing you to cease operations.

If your business suddenly became embroiled in a crisis, would you be prepared to handle it? To prepare for an emergency, you should start by creating a crisis management plan that includes various scenarios.

In the wake of a crisis, a plan keeps employees focused on your company’s top priorities and combats fear and uncertainty that can compound the damage. Moreover, the exercise of creating a plan helps you to identify threats, minimize their likelihood, and improve the response.

A crisis management plan can prepare your firm and its employees to cope with an unexpected calamity by:

  • Shortening and reducing the impact of a crisis;
  • Protecting employees and anyone else affected;
  • Preserving operations and productivity as much as possible; and
  • Safeguarding your firm’s reputation.

A recent article, Inc. magazine recommended the following crisis management steps every company should have in place:

  1. Have a plan — Put in place clear objectives that you would want to pursue during a crisis. Objectives should include protecting human life, ensuring that the organization survives and that your stakeholders (clients, suppliers, employees, the public) are kept informed. Include specific actions that you would take in a crisis.
  2. Different responses to different crises — Have plans in place for various crises that could strike your organization. You should conduct a brain-storming session where you can come up with as many potential crises as possible that could affect your company.
    If it’s the sudden loss of a key employee or owner, you should prearrange a succession plan and transfers of responsibility.

If it’s a natural disaster that disrupts operations, have plans in place to ensure that you can continue operating, such as arranging for alternate suppliers, or arranging for an alternative location if you are unable to function in your current facilities.

Some types of crisis may have similar responses, but not all, so it’s smart to map out how you would react to each different threat.

  1. 3. Be transparent — Being as open and transparent as possible can help stop rumors and head off any negative fallout.
  2. Keep employees informed — It’s extremely important that you keep your employees informed, to keep morale up and so that they can help you keep your operations afloat. This also stops the rumor mill from circulating out of control.
  3. Reach out to clients and suppliers — Head off any misunderstandings by communicating with your customers and suppliers before they learn it from another source. Keep them informed of what’s happened, how it has affected your operations and how it might affect them during this period.
  4. Update early and often — Provide updates to your stakeholders when warranted to inform them of progress the company is making to return to normal operations.

Plan during smooth times

You should create your crisis management plan when your business is running smoothly and you have time to devote to thinking out a successful strategy.

This also gives you a chance to involve key employees in the process and open it up for brainstorming on how you would handle different crises.

You may want to include in this process advice and input from

  • Members of your leadership team
  • Employees
  • Customers
  • Communications experts
  • Lawyers

The takeaway

Without a plan, your company may struggle to operations up to speed and you could end up bankrupt. If you don’t already have a crisis management plan, you should start on one. You never know what could upend your business.

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Are you ready to save time, aggravation, and money? The team at Wasatch Preferred is here and ready to make the process as painless as possible. We look forward to meeting you!