Natural disasters just happen. We can prepare, but oftentimes we can’t prevent them.
The same holds true for crisis situations. While you can take steps to cut issues off at the knees – before they become full-blown crises – sometimes they erupt with no warning.
Now what do you do?
1. Kick your crisis team into gear. A solid crisis team involves all disciplines in the company – from operations, and HR to communications, safety/security and top leadership.
2. Assign your crisis team lead, and put them “on point” for this situation. This depends on the issue: HR for people-related crises, security for crime, communications for news/social media, etc. Ensure that department is the primary source of information and communication.
3. Communicate internally early and often. The life-span of a crisis often depends on how quickly a company can investigate and resolve the issue.
4. Communicate externally swiftly, but with care. Even if you don’t have all the facts, a quick response to officials, reporters, etc. letting them know that you are aware of the issue and are investigating is key to setting the tone on responsible company behavior.
5. Make it right. Take accountability where needed, determine what can be done differently, and make that behavior part of your proven process moving forward and ensure that it’s communicated to all parties.