5 crisis management tips

Conduct a vulnerability audit Conduct a vulnerability audit

Look objectively at all the things within the entire organization that might make it more vulnerable to a crisis in general or to a specific crisis, advises Bernstein. Look for red flags in every functional area because a crisis can occur anywhere. A vulnerability audit could, for example, uncover that a website is unable to handle a sudden surge in traffic that typically accompanies a crisis. [Image: Thinkstock]

Create an operational response plan Create an operational response plan

This includes everything from what the organization needs to do to who is responsible for doing it to relevant timelines. [Image: Thinkstock]

Create a crisis communications plan Create a crisis communications plan

This includes what the messages are, who is responsible for communicating the messages and how the messages are to be transmitted. The communications plan should work in tandem with the operational response plan, although ideally the plans should each be managed by different people. “If you’re busy trying to assess whether the building damaged by the tornado will be ready for occupancy in the next 30 days, for example, you can’t also be dealing with the media,” says Bernstein. [Image: Shutterstock]

Train employees Train employees

After creating the operational response plan and communications plan, the next step is to train employees to respond according to the plans. This includes media training for spokespeople. [Image: Thinkstock]

Conduct crisis simulations Conduct crisis simulations

Simulations help ensure the appropriate people stay up-to-date. “Several organizations that were in the World Trade Center on 9/11 had done that, including practicing evacuation and moving operations to a different site, because they had been warned by the previous World Trade Center bombing [in 1993],” says Bernstein. “Without drills, many of the skills and processes in crisis plans are not intuitive to plan participants.” [Image: Shutterstock]

Whether it’s a shooting in the workplace, a toxic chemical spill, industrial accident or natural disaster, the majority of employers are unprepared to deal with a workplace crisis, says long-time crisis management expert Jonathan Bernstein, author of “Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management.” Bernstein shares five tips for creating and executing a successful crisis management plan.

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