How should my organisation respond when facing a crisis?
Approximately 70% of organisations will experience at least one crisis every five years, which may arise from a variety of sources including technology issues, operational interruptions and service disruption. Every business is likely to face a crisis at some point, so it is essential they ensure they can quickly and effectively respond to minimise any reputational damage. COVID-19 is a global health crisis that has highlighted the need for clear and regular communication by all types of organisations and has highlighted the importance of communication on a global scale. It has become imperative that organisations be factual and concise when communicating their messages.
Our Risk Management team have listed their recommendations of what your organisation should and should not do when facing a crisis:
- Act fast but think carefully. It is better to delay communication for a short period than to rush something out that could then backfire.
- Tell it all and tell the truth.
- Be open about what you do not yet know.
- Apologise if you are at fault, even if others are also partly responsible.
- Demonstrate your humanity by acknowledging the impact of the incident and sympathising with those affected.
- Correct misinformation and dismiss unfounded rumours.
- Commence an investigation into the crisis as soon as you become aware of it.
- Communicate what you are doing to address the issue. If an immediate resolution is not possible, try to manage expectations.
- Thank those that have assisted in dealing with the crisis.
- Constantly monitor the situation and public/media opinion.
- Be prepared for a social media backlash.
- Get ahead of the story as soon as possible.
- Identify a pivotal point to stop focusing on the issue and get onto the solution or back to business.
- Once it becomes possible, close the communications by announcing that the crisis is over.
- Attempt to cover up a crisis.
- Delay communicating until a lengthy investigation has been concluded.
- Apologise for something that you are not responsible for.
- Speculate on unknown information or treat rumour as fact.
- Immediately adopt a defensive stance or attempt to blame others.
- Become embroiled in public arguments.
- Allow advisers to significantly slow down your response times or dilute your key messages.
- Use corporate jargon when communicating with the public or press.
- Use the crisis to promote your products or services.
- Release general marketing material.
- Issue too many statements. This could inadvertently reignite a story, that would have otherwise died down.
Griffiths & Armour is committed to providing our clients with ongoing risk management support which includes access to a comprehensive library of guidance documents to introduce new and effective working practices that reduce risk. This article contains excerpts from our Crisis Communications guidance brochure which is available via RMworks, our online risk management platform.
If you have any questions relating to the guidance in this article or would like to find out more about accessing RMworks, please get in touch with your Griffiths & Armour insurance broker or alternatively, contact Cath Swindells below: