How to Create a Crisis Management Plan

Desiree Peterkin Bell is an expert in crisis management and communication. Here you can read her advice on how to create a plan to mitigate any future crises.

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If we’ve learned anything over the past year, it’s that crises could happen at any time. Whether they be disease, natural disasters, or civic unrest, you never know when the unexpected could occur. Despite this, less than half of businesses have a crisis management plan in place. Do you have a strategy for when the unthinkable happens? If not, here are some of the steps you need to take to create a crisis management plan. 

Assess Potential Risks

First, you need to consider what problems are most likely to occur. Each industry and location has unique risks. Are you located in an area with severe weather conditions or natural disasters such as earthquakes or forest fires? Do you work in a field or closely to a field that presents special risks, such as healthcare? Your crisis management plan needs to be custom-tailored in order to be effective. 

Create the Plan

Once you understand the problems you may face, you need to create the plan. Determine which actions your group would need to take to successfully resolve any of the potential crises you identified in the previous step. Next, you should choose which individuals will be responsible for completing actions in various situations. Depending on the scenario, you may require consultants, HR, or even first responders. You also need to consider how long resolving issues would take, what resources you’ll need to combat crises, and the necessary steps to mitigate any damage. 

Train Everyone Involved

Even the most thoughtful, detailed crisis management plan is useless if nobody actually understands how it works. Every individual who is part of your plan must be trained on how to carry out the predetermined course of action. You can train them through presentations or invite a crisis response expert to educate your team. Even other people who are not actively involved in a crisis management plan should still be informed on what actions to take, too. You don’t want them to accidentally get in the way of professionals or to be hurt during a disaster. 

Update Your Plan Regularly

As your organization evolves, so should your plan. Common changes include fluctuation in the number of employees, new office locations, or different internal processes. All these changes should be cause to reevaluate your crisis management plan. Should you experience a crisis, you should also consider what worked or didn’t work and adjust your plan accordingly. 

A crisis management plan is crucial and will determine the future of your organization when the unexpected occurs. If you don’t have one in place yet, there is no time like the present to develop your strategy. 

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