One key to an organization reacting to a crisis situation quickly and effectively is having information gathered and processes predetermined. Here are some components of a crisis communication plan that employee communication professionals should prepare before a crisis strikes:
- An emergency notification system with accurate and up-to-date contact information so that employees can be alerted quickly.
- Roles and responsibilities for crisis communication team members specifying who will draft, fact-check, approve and send messages to employees, who will monitor feedback, and who will serve as liaison with the rest of the crisis management team. Teams should conduct drills several times a year to enhance response time and the quality of the response.
- Key messaging for the most likely crisis scenarios. Messages should focus first on the well-being of employees, and then on how employees can help the organization to recover and how they can help protect the organization’s brand. To have the most impact, risk management expert Vincent Covello, Ph.D., says crisis messaging should include compassion, conviction and optimism.
- An initial employee update template that can be adapted quickly to specific crisis situations.
- A matrix detailing which communication channels reach which employee audiences, and explaining the strengths and weaknesses of each channel.
- A communication policy for employees that determines which employees can talk to the news media and which employees can post to social media sites.
- A list of places for employees to donate including local blood banks and the local chapter of the American Red Cross.
- A list of grief counselors that can be called upon to assist employees in the immediate aftermath of a crisis.
- A process that allows employees to donate money to relief efforts that can be implemented quickly in the aftermath of a crisis.
- A post-crisis evaluation form that can be used to analyze and improve upon the employee crisis communication plan and the response by the employee communication team.
What components would you add to this list for the employee communication professional?
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