Crises happen when they are least expected to occur. Businesses and corporate sectors are the most affected industries as they cannot afford to halt their ongoing work and loose communication.
Crises are emergencies that can lead to severe issues in business operation or even the livelihood of humans. No organization can wait for the crisis to hit their operations and planning. To avoid such catastrophic situations, organizations and corporate bodies must be prepared with a communication plan.
During a crisis, communication can play an integral role in ensuring the smooth operation of the organization. Even if the employees are unable to make it to the workplace due to unavoidable barriers, an established communication medium might help in a continuous workflow.
In this article, we’ll see how to enable efficient communication with some simple strategies despite the critical events.
Importance of Communication Planning During Crisis
First of all, it is essential to have communication during a crisis to keep the employees and the stakeholders updated about the company’s situation. The inability to inform the staff and project owners about the crisis and the ongoing situation might lead to reliability issues. Lack of communication is equally impactful as the crisis is.
Especially during a pandemic or health crisis, it is essential to cope up with the communication barrier and enable smooth workflow. Besides communication within the team and the company, the business mustn’t lose the connectivity with its prospective customers and audience.
No business can afford to lose its customers, especially during difficult times. So to keep them attached with your organization and help resolve their issues in every situation, businesses must build a seamless network system.
During difficult times, such as COVID-19, people might reach out to reliable service providers for their shared interests and requests. It is during such times that a company’s image gets affected. Before describing what it takes to plan out a complete communication strategy during a crisis, let’s find out what elements matter the most.
Ways to Write a Communication Plan
Before designing an efficient communication plan that could work out smoothly, some strategies need to be taken into consideration. So, here is a complete guide on how to plan an efficient communication system.
1. Discover Your Goal
It is essential to keep the employees and agents informed about what the plan is. You can try to mention the aim of building the plan: “This plan’s objective is to streamline the communication flow with the stakeholders present inside as well as outside the company during the crisis.”
Doing so will keep your colleagues and employees informed so that they could easily align themselves with the plan easing the execution.
2. Target the Stakeholders
Before planning, the team should be aware of the audience they are targeting. Enlisting the names of all the stakeholders would help determine the type of information to be acquired and passed. Here, stakeholders are used as a broader term for managers, employees, customers, users, investors, government bodies, media houses, etc.
3. Plan out the Hierarchy
The flow of communication is generally based on the position and criticality of employees’ roles in an organization. The plan must be dedicated to sketching out the person’s priority, and the information should be directed according to it.
For example, in case of an emergency, it is more important to inform the manager instead of each employee. This process will not only prioritize the people of higher designation but will save time.
While deciding the order of the hierarchy, consider a person at a supreme position such as CEO or President. After the head, information must descend. Other than just placing the order, how much data needs to be revealed must be considered.
Managers do not always want their employees to know the root cause or personal details, but just the crux of the information being passed.
4. Consider Sample Crisis Plans
Once you are done with planning the communication plan successfully, you’ll probably feel some minor things that need to be changed. Referring to some existing and successful communication plans would help in figuring out where your plan is lacking.
Doing so will help create a reliable system of communication that serves the purpose efficiently and with the least issues. While referring to an existing plan, make sure you do not copy it but only learn the critical points and design elements.
5. Design a Fact Sheet
You must appoint some agents for a fact check while considering a crisis and its consequences on the team’s communication. These agents would gather information and facts related to the crisis and their impact on communication. Maintaining such fact sheets would eliminate the confusion due to rumors.
Also, you can set a deadline or declare an emergency for the creation of a fact sheet. In the case of natural disasters, disrupted business functions, or health crisis, the need for the communication plan is urgent and requires a quick fact check.
6. Stay Informed at all Times
Since you are designing the communication plan, you will be approached by people for various questions. People such as reporters, employees, managers, etc., will put up a lot of informative questions and inquire about their concerns such as “Are there any serious impacts?” or “What all services are being halted?”
Answer to all such questions should be available with you at all times as you are responsible for providing a medium. Also, it would be best if you kept yourself updated with all the necessary information and facts.
Now when you finally know what matters while designing the crisis communication plan, you are ready to go. Keeping a check on certain things such as fact checks, organizing lists, and answering queries would help you establish successful connectivity even during a disastrous condition.
Since the arrival of emergencies is unreliable and unpredictable, the actions and plans must be quick. A communication plan is a set of rules and guidelines that trace an efficient path for smooth communication. These guidelines ensure that you reach a broader audience in the least time and with high accuracy.