With efficient internal communication and a skilled and proactive team, you can easily handle day-to-day business challenges. However, a crisis is not an everyday challenge. A crisis can be weeks or months long. Take the ongoing COVID-19 crisis as an example. Hardly any business was prepared for it. While businesses using digital technologies are still running well, they have also lost revenue. Now, lockdowns are eased and people in some sectors are returning to their offices. However, at some point in the future, your company may once again face a large-scale crisis.
It can be a media scandal, a security breach, a natural disaster, or even an act of terrorism. This is the reason why it is important to prepare in advance. The very first requirement of efficient crisis management is external and internal communication. You should quickly disseminate information to your employees.
Communication requires connectivity and this is possible with internal communication software. You cannot keep your employees calm, organized and safe when you cannot communicate with them. The way you handle a crisis can impact your employees, company and public image.
Internal Communication During a Crisis
You need the following during a crisis:
- Quick movements
- Considering all stakeholders and groups
- Consistent messaging
Steps to plan for crisis handling
Step 1: Plan an Internal Communication Strategy in Advance
You don’t always know what could go wrong. However, when you know, you should assemble a crisis intervention team. This team prepares a list of possible crisis and brainstorm how each crisis can affect the business. A crisis may fall in one of the following larger categories:
- Information crisis
- Product-related crisis
- Criminal crisis
- Economic crisis
- Natural disasters
To know what you can do, you need to know what might happen. This helps in taking steps to eliminate the possible risks of a crisis. The next step is determining the internal communication strategy. Internal communication plan for crisis management includes:
- Setting-up a special channel on internal communication software. The channel should be activated and accessible easily and quickly.
- Drafting statements that can be easily and quickly prepared
- Choosing persons for each scenario
- Preparing human resources for effective internal communication with employees.
Not all employees consume content in exactly the same way. Some employees check their smartphones and tablets for notification on the intranet software. Others prefer a phone call. Not many employees check their emails regularly. So, you cannot rely on one internal communication method. Your primary communication may not be available. So, prepare multiple channels.
Step 2: Act Quickly and Strategically
Make sure that you are acting quickly but strategically. Take a pause before you jump into action. Sharing inaccurate information during a crisis can be disastrous. You must make sure that internal communication is accurate. After pre-crisis planning, you are in a position to share information with your employees even when you don’t have the exact answers to their questions. Your employees should trust messaging from the management. They should not get and trust information from unreliable sources. Regularly provide up-to-date information to your employees. Provide simple answers to their most important questions. Your messaging should be factual, consistent, and practical.
Step 3: Conduct a Post-Crisis Analysis
After successful crisis navigation, you anxiously want to move on. However, you should see it as an opportunity to further improve your ability to handle a crisis. Did your internal communication plan for crisis management work? What were the shortcomings of the plan? Were you able to communicate with all the employees? Were they able to quickly take expected actions? Were you satisfied with the performance of your internal communication software? Analyze the overall performance of your internal communication plan for crisis management.
Desc: A business cannot handle a crisis without fast and effective internal communication. In this article, you will learn how to create an internal communication plan for crisis management.