When thinking about the creation of a crisis management plan, it’s important to know the stages of a crisis and understand where you are at every step. These stages typically unfold during a crisis and can help you better respond to the situation at various points in time.
You can’t really predict when a crisis might happen, but there are often signs you can look for that serve as a warning. Warning signals can come in different forms and can be influenced by a range of factors such as an employee’s behaviour, company finances or overall public sentiment change.
2. Risk Assessment
Risk assessment starts as soon as the crisis is in its incipient phase. This is when key management staff at the company starts analysing the impact of the situation on the business, employees, and customers. At this stage, the crisis situation is acknowledged and the potential consequences of the crisis, potential damage, and resulting issues are discussed. Also here, everyone involved may discuss the worst possible scenario and how to address it.
Once you have a clear picture of the level of risk, you and your team will be able to decide the best course of action as part of your crisis management plan. Everyone that can contribute to the resolution of the situation, including employees and emergency response teams, can be informed and instructed of the situation. At the response stage there is a lot of back and forth communication within the team that should lead to actions to manage and mitigate the incident.
At the management phase everyone with the responsibility and ability to address the crisis will start working with the chosen crisis plan, monitor immediate effects of the incident, as well as any changes that arise. At this point open communication should continue so employees, customers and stakeholders know the latest proceedings of the company.
The resolution phase takes place when the plan of action is implemented and everyone involved in managing the situation has carried out their tasks. The crisis situation should be pretty well addressed by this time and the damage stopped from spreading. This is also the point when you can start working on guiding the business back on track.
As you leave the resolution phase and move into recovery, your business is operating under normal circumstances once again. This stage includes getting all employees back into their daily routine operations.
Another critical aspect is to continue analysing the results of your crisis management plan during the recovery phase. This way you can understand how you can prevent another similar situation from happening in the future.
To help you work through your crisis management plan as well as the stages of a crisis, you may also want to work with a crisis management team with expertise on quickly addressing issues and starting the recovery phase as soon as possible.