How to manage a corporate crisis [quick 2024 guide]

Published: Jan 13th, 2020

Updated: Jan 18th, 2024

Thankfully, crisis management isn’t used very frequently, but its importance shouldn’t be overlooked. On the one occasion that you need to manage a crisis, being prepared can help dramatically.

The day-to-day life of a business has its own challenges, the majority of which are easy to handle and not complex to overcome. Having said this, there is one challenge that is probably the most difficult to face and this is how a business manages a crisis. In a high pressured situation where your reputation and overall business success may be at stake, ensuring that you act in the best way possible is essential.  

Thankfully, crisis management isn’t used very frequently, but its importance shouldn’t be overlooked. On the one occasion that you need to manage a crisis, being prepared can help dramatically. For anyone looking for some clarity on how to manage a crisis, we’ve put together a list of tips that we believe can be helpful. 

Anticipate any threats

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

It isn’t always possible to avoid a crisis, however, anticipating any possible threats will put you in the best position to overcome them. All businesses should be productive and go through all of the situations that may potentially occur. This step may even be able to help you eliminate the threat altogether and if not, it will ensure that you’re aware and ready to act if required.

Planning for a crisis scenario involves various steps, resources and expertise. While large organisations and governments already have such plans in place across the world, this is not the standard for SMEs, especially for startups, which focus almost exclusively on growth.

Here are the five most important steps

  1. Risk identification. Identify the potential risks that your organisation could run into at different stages. This could be anything from natural disasters (high impact but low chances to happen in most cases) to unhappy clients and bad products (potentially high impact and medium chances to happen) to financial problems (high impact and potentially high chances to happen, depending on business models, larger economy and other factors). Almost anything can be a risk, but not everything is likely to happen.
  2. Develop a crisis management plan. Once you have identified the potential risks, you need to develop a crisis management plan. This plan should outline how you will respond to each type of crisis.
  3. Assemble a crisis team. You need to assemble a team of people who will be responsible for implementing your crisis management plan. This team should include representatives from all levels of the organization.
  4. Train your employees. It is important to train your employees on how to respond to a crisis. This training should cover things like how to identify a crisis, how to report a crisis, and how to follow the company’s crisis management plan.
  5. Test your plan. It is important to test your crisis management plan regularly. This will help you to identify any gaps in the plan and make sure that it is up-to-date.

Have a plan

Failure to plan invites disaster

Once you’re aware of your treats, putting a plan in place for each is the next step. Your plan should be tailored for your organisation and it should include both operational and communications components. During any crisis, the aim of this plan is to protect both your business and any individual, employee or public, who may be endangered by the crisis and ensure the key audiences are kept informed whilst ensuring the organisation survives.

Always make sure that this written plan includes specific actions that will be taken in the event of a crisis. You then know that in the event of a crisis, you have clear steps to follow when panic sets in.

Always communicate 

Many businesses will want to hide away and keep their crisis as quiet as possible, however, communication at this time is key. Be as open and honest as possible, inform people of what you know and when you became aware of it. You should also explain exactly what is being done to fix the situation. Nothing generates more negative media coverage than a lack of honesty and transparency. This communication also allows you to correct misinformation promptly, preventing any further damage.

It isn’t uncommon for remaining silent to enrage the public, media and any stakeholders. Proactive communication is essential in a crisis.

Remember to be human

During a crisis, it is easy for businesses to forget that their customers and clients are real people and that they are too. Simply extending a heartfelt apology and openly appearing deeply saddened can make a huge difference. People want to relate to something and being human allows them to empathise with the situation helping them keep faith in your brand.

To put things simply, a crisis that is not managed well can ruin decades of hard work and company value in a matter of hours. Whereas, a well-managed crisis confirms that your company has the processes and procedures in place to handle anything thrown at them. For this reason alone, ensuring you know how to manage a crisis should never be overlooked.

How Sapience Communications can help 

It isn’t uncommon for businesses to turn to a professional experienced company to handle their crisis management for them. One of the biggest factors that will determine success or failure during a crisis is the strength of the management team you have in place. Of course, if you choose to work alongside professionals then you are giving yourself the best possible chance of coming out the other side of the crisis undamaged. 

Sapience Communications is a technology PR agency that can make sure that you’re prepared for any eventuality. Our experienced team can give you the guidance to respond promptly and decisively to any crisis minimising disruption. You can trust us to handle things in the best possible way and always be ahead of the story. Feel free to get in touch with us for a quick chat.

Michael Carter CEO – BizEquity

“Sapience has been a tremendous partner on our journey. They have helped us build and extend our brand around the world as a leader in the FinTech space.”

— Michael Carter CEO – BizEquity

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