Crisis Management Plan: 8-step guide

A crisis can be defined as a difficult or dangerous situation that requires quick and effective action.

A crisis can occur from internal or external causes, and harm a business in multiple ways.

There are different types of crises that businesses may face, including product defects, fires, natural disasters, security breaches, technology failures, and lawsuits.

A crisis is always behind the corner. And can escalate quickly.

Companies that can anticipate potential crisis situations will be better prepared to respond quickly and effectively should a crisis occur.

And crisis management is no longer optional. It has become an integral part of running a successful company.

That is why it’s important for all organizations to have effective crisis management plan in place to address crisis situation as they arise.

Don’t just prepare for a crisis, expect it.

The best way to prepare is by creating a crisis management plan.

With an effective CMP in place, you can respond quickly and effectively to almost any type of crisis that threatens your business operations.

While it’s unrealistic to develop a unique crisis management plan for all the possible crisis scenarios, we can build a highly adaptable plan — one the entire team can execute flawlessly, before, during, and after each a crisis.

Here is your quick guide in just 8 steps. To helping you build your own crisis management plan from scratch!

1. Build a team

In the event of a crisis, the crisis management team develops and executes a crisis management plan. Usually within the team you would have a crisis management advisor, a public relations specialist, a human resources advisor, legal & financial advisors, and a safety advisor. Together, they’ll establish a hierarchy, and an escalation process for decisions.

2. Risk analysis

The risks your company may face will be physically outlined and ranked in order of probability in a risk analysis. Legal issues, natural disasters, reputation damage, cyberattacks, product safety issues, industrial accidents, workplace violence, extortion attempts, and boycotts are some of the most common types of crises faced by organizations. Cover the most likely threats to your organization, even if you don’t have to include them all.

3. Activation protocol

The activation protocol specifies when action should be taken. In the event that a crisis reaches a certain level of business impact, the crisis management team is triggered to respond. For example, you may decide to hold off on taking action until the crisis reaches a certain level. (Often referred to as “Business Impact Analysis” or BIA). Your procedure should also include the roles assigned to each team member as well as their responsibilities during response efforts.

4. Emergency contacts

To speed up the response process for crises requiring external assistance, include the main emergency contact information. In addition to law enforcement, hospital first responders, and the fire department, your emergency contact list may include plumbing services, electricians, poison control, and other services related to the risks you identified in your analysis. 

5. Crisis communication plan

Once a crisis has spread, you’ll need to inform key internal and external stakeholders, and the public of the situation. Your internal operations may not be the only things impacted. It is important to include details about who will deliver the information and who will handle feedback in your external crisis communication strategy. 

6. Monitor threats and review the CMP

Disruption to an organization’s business can occur when it is least expected, so it is important that an organization looks ahead and assesses potential threats, whether internal or external. In order to remain effective in the event of a crisis, the CMP must be reviewed periodically as the business environment changes.

7. Post-crisis assessment

A post-crisis assessment reminds your team to follow up and assess what went well and what didn’t. You can then update your crisis plan with lessons learned to improve your response procedures and reduce business impact with a post-crisis assessment.

8. Test! Test! Test!

In order to quickly implement a CMP during a crisis, it is important to conduct periodic exercises or simulations. Practices or drills of crisis situations can reveal an organization’s strengths and weaknesses. The team should analyze what went well and what did not, and update the CMP accordingly after the challenge. Providing crisis management training and including all personnel in the test scenarios will make them aware of the CMP. By doing this, personnel can be proactive when a crisis arises, including knowing who to contact.

It can be hard to know what to do in a crisis situation.

Maybe you’re worried about how to respond if something bad happens. Or maybe you’re just trying to figure out what a crisis is.

No matter what’s on your mind, we’re here to help you plan, prepare, and push through your challenges head on.

Whether it’s an emergency situation or a regular occurrence, our team is always on standby to help with providing consultancy or custom training courses.

Small bonus! Download and save the 8-step guide infographic below.

Procyon Group Crisis Management guide