3 Ways to Make Your Crisis Management Plan Actionable
Is your crisis plan a glass hammer?
Painfully inadequate to do the job for which it is designed?
Your organization has painstakingly planned for every aspect of a crises. But if an emergency strikes tomorrow, is your plan truly actionable? Will it achieve what it is meant to, without unnecessary delays or complications? Or is it only useful in theory?
If your plan is not actionable, it’s important to fully operationalize it before the next emergency hits. Here are three techniques to help make your plan truly actionable in a crisis:
1. Make your plan mobile-friendly.
Traditionally, crisis plans were housed in hard-copy folders or on a company’s intranet. When an emergency hit, the crisis team would reference those plans and then take action. However, the centralized nature of these plans often made them difficult to access when they were needed most—for example, if building were flooded or the network went down. This is why many organizations have digitized their crisis plans and made them available through a digital crisis management platform.
A crisis management platform provides your crisis team, employees and other stakeholders with instant access to the crisis plan, precisely when they need the information most. As an emergency begins, your crisis management team can immediately access crisis activation protocols, disaster planning documents and more. The app can even include digital playbooks that walk your team through every stage of the response—making your crisis response plan truly actionable.
2. Enable real-time alerts and updates.
During a crisis, most organizations provide information to employees using internal emails, manual call trees, crisis telephone lines or website announcements. However, these methods are unreliable and impractical when you consider how many of today’s workplaces operate.
In many businesses, employees are frequently away from their desks, either working in the field, traveling or collaborating with coworkers in conference rooms or other common areas. That means that if a crisis strikes suddenly, these workers will be unreachable using the traditional communications methods above. In addition, if an emergency involves an IT or power outage, tools such as website announcements and call trees would be ineffective.
This is another way in which a digital crisis communications platform helps to operationalize your crisis management plan. Most employees have their phones or tablets with them throughout the workday, making this the ideal way to contact them during an emergency.
Using a platform, your crisis management team can send real-time alerts to inform employees of the situation. As it evolves, you can also push updates and notifications to ensure that each stakeholder is up to date on the latest. For example, your team may initially tell employees to shelter in place but, as the emergency progresses, they may need to evacuate the building. In many situations, this flexibility and real-time access to all stakeholders may help to prevent injuries or even death.
3. Streamline crisis communications.
In most organizations, crisis communications such as press releases and website announcements are drafted and approved before an emergency ever hits. That way, your crisis management team can quickly distribute these types of notifications to customers, partners, the media and other stakeholders.
However, many organizations store these pre-approved crisis communication documents on their server or, worse yet, on one person’s computer. During an emergency, they may not be accessible if the building is evacuated or the server fails. But digitizing your communications makes them available at any time and in any location. They can even be downloaded to a mobile device so they are accessible in case the cellular networks fail.
As a result, crisis communications can be quickly and easily sent to all the relevant audiences, which helps to improve management of the emergency and encourage a more streamlined response.
When these three techniques are put into practice, your organization’s crisis management plan become more practical and useful during an actual emergency. It becomes accessible and usable during any type of crisis, and it works for all stakeholders. As a result, your organization can bounce back faster and more effectively, no matter what type of crisis it may face.