When a crisis occurs, many organizations, understandably, immediately focus on the court of public opinion. While your marketplace reputation should always be at the forefront of your business, it is important to remember your employees during a time of crisis. Your employees are some of your primary stakeholders and a crisis will most likely affect each of them. Maintaining moral and control in the office is a critical part in demonstrating your leadership capabilities to your team. Here are seven quick tips for handling a crisis internally:
1) Involve Employee Response in Your Crisis Communication Plan
Crisis response goes beyond a fire evacuation plan. It involves having a plan to respond to a wide variety of circumstances, whether it be a tragic event, or a reputational crisis. Being prepared will boost your employees’ confidence when responding to a crisis, resulting in a stronger base for rebuilding.
2) Encourage Recommendations from Employees
Employees keep the business running, so listening to them can provide clues into what your company needs. Create a dialogue with your employees will allow you to learn about their thoughts, and how the company can prepare for or work to prevent a crisis.
3) Repeat, Remind, Review
Prepare your employees for a crisis, even when crisis seems impossible. Consistently training your employees will help to keep your crisis strategy fresh in their minds, ultimately resulting in a better company response. Being prepared will help your employees’ confidence when responding to a crisis, also resulting in a stronger base for rebuilding.
4) Protect Your Employees
As the leader, an employee at any level is your responsibility. Their safety is reliant on your desire to keep them safe. By being prepared to protect them, you can save your business’s reputation, as well as your own.
5) Communicate Face-to-Face when Possible
Sincerity and ambition is best captured through verbal communication. Taking time to address employees face-to-face signifies their importance to you, and demonstrates your willingness to work alongside them to venture through a crisis.
6) Personalize Your Message
Just as you would customize your branding message to different target markets, your internal crisis approach should be of the same mind set. Each team member plays a different position in your organization, all with different focuses and individual goals that contribute to the overall mission of the company. Each employee or position is therefore impacted differently and it is important for them to know how to react or what action needs to take place. This does not involve placing blame on other employees, but focuses on uniting the team and organizing the company’s response as a whole.
7) Provide Support Post-Crisis
If a crisis has the potential to be emotionally challenging for your employees, offer assistance to help guide them through the healing process. Showing that you value your employees by supporting them can boost employee morale and help build your business’s reputation.