Finding a solution

Crisis management should be an essential part of every business organization.

Having a plan for when worse comes to worst — and especially knowing how to communicate the right message to the right people at the right time — is critical for ensuring the wellbeing of your company, not to mention influencing how your brand appears to the outside world.

For effective crisis management, companies need to have a plan for the three main phases of any crisis, and ways to ensure such a plan can be shared to all concerned.

1. Pre-Crisis

Even before a crisis happens, companies need to be well prepared. There are certain situations that can be anticipated, like recurring issues such as extreme weather, or those that are more industry-specific, such as oil/chemical spills or first-aid situations on the factory floor.

Have a Team

Have an assigned leader who can step into action when a crisis hits. Having a uniquely responsible person who can immediately take action will save time and provide employees with a feeling of security.

Establish a Preferred Channel

This is where tools such as an employee app come into play. How are you supposed to reach everybody if you normally communicate with a newsletter or email or an intranet? All of these channels lack reach and immediacy.

In comparison, a native employee app enables push notifications, which are of critical importance in times of crisis, when sending and receiving information at a moment's notice can be the difference between a minor incident and a major catastrophe.

Push notifications are a game changer in internal communication. On average, push notifications are read within 3 minutes of receipt.

Have a Plan

Having a team and a designated channel are part of that plan, but also think about how to best craft the messages you want to send, focusing especially on their wording (which should create urgency but not panic) and the timing.

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2. During a Crisis

Act Quickly

In order to avoid panic and injuries, immediate action is key.

Reach Everybody

How do you make sure that people have gotten the message and that everybody is alerted? Apart from sending your messages to your employees' smartphones, and facilitating push notifications, you can also take advantage of the acknowledgement function available in the most effective employee apps.

Control Your Messages

Organizations should establish themselves as a trusted source of information. Employee apps in general are seen as a credible channel for all information concerning a company. Such a reputation is increasingly important when competing with Facebook, Twitter, and other questionable sources of online news. An app allows you to influence the news and messaging being consumed by your workforce.

How employees react to an incident (negatively, neutrally, or positively) will greatly determine whether or not the incident becomes a full-blown crisis.

That being said, related research has found that managers often communicate significantly less with employees during a crisis.

Avoid this mistake by proactively implementing your app as a source for internal updates and addressing internal issues directly and immediately.

3. After the Crisis

Evaluate Successes and Failures/Areas for Improvement

Having a crisis sucks. But having one give you a great opportunity to improve your response for the next inevitable emergency. Analyze your outcomes with an eye towards not making the same mistakes twice.

Ask Employees for Feedback

One essential part of the learning process is to listen to your employees. Did they feel well-informed and reassured by the communication they received? Did certain employees feel left out of the loop? Did communication fail at some point?

An effective way to evaluate your crisis management is to offer a short survey to your employees (an employee app makes impromptu surveys a cinch) and ask them how satisfied they were with the overall execution and follow-through of your crisis management plan. It can be as simple as choosing between three smileys with a text panel for further suggestions.

Be Sure to Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

A crisis is handled best when everyone lends a hand. So don’t forget to say thank you to everyone involved in the effort. Celebrate your supporters and make sure they are emotionally prepared for future occurrences.

Crises happen. It’s inevitable. How effectively you deal with them can be one more quality that elevates your organization above the norm.

The manufacturing playbook for internal communicators

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