Crisis Management and Crisis Communication

In 1963, Charles F. Hermann defined a crisis as:

“….something that threatens high-priority values of the organization and is unexpected or unanticipated by the organization.”

A crisis is a time of catastrophe or disaster. It can occur at any time, anywhere and is unpreventable.

Today we will learn about workplace crisis management, thanks to our in-depth analysis below!

What Is Crisis Management?

Firstly, crisis management is a process that is implemented to reduce or prevent the impact or damage a crisis can inflict on an organisation or its stakeholders. It details how an organisation should react when faced with a problem. This process involves three specific phases, namely, pre-crisis, the crisis- response and the post-crisis.

The pre-crisis stage deals with prevention and preparation steps. At this stage, the organisation will prepare a crisis management plan that will outline steps to properly handle real problems that might arise later in the company. Proper training is given to workers and a crisis management team is formed. Numerous studies have shown that having a crisis website is also an excellent practice for an organisation.

The crisis-response stage details how management responds and takes actions following the onset of a crisis. The public relations team will take responsibility of communicating important messages to the public. During a crisis, the organization will need to provide accurate and valid information to reassure the public and maintain its continuity. Social media platforms and the company’s websites will be widely used during a crisis to inform the general public about specific issues. Recent research has shown how a company’s management should show empathy and concern for crisis victims. For example, in 2013, following a crash of the company airline, the Asiana Airlines President and CEO Yoon Young-doo offered his condolences to the victims and bowed in apology during a press conference in South Korea.

Furthermore, if employees have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) due to severe injuries or other catastrophes, a business organisation will usually offer treatment and counselling for these workers. In this phase, there will be strategies designed to repair and restore the organization’s reputation. Some strategies implemented by organisations are to offer apologies and compensation in the form of money to the victims and their families.

The final phase is the post-crisis stage. The company is now back to normal and preparing itself for the next crisis. It is important that the appropriate level of follow-up is conducted during this phase. For instance, if the company promised a certain amount of money as compensation to an employee, this needs to be carried out as soon as possible.

What Is Crisis Communication?

Crisis communication is a large part of effective crisis management. Crisis communication is the collection and spread of essential crisis-related information to a targeted audience so as to protect the organization’s reputation. It consists of managing information, opinions and emotions when the company is faced with huge pressure. Like crisis management, it also includes the three stages mentioned above.

The first stage consists of communicating instructions to train and inform workers and to minimise the risks of potential further crises. During the crisis stage, messages are conveyed to the media to maintain and portray a good image of the organisation. During the post-crisis period, communication is used to assess the damage caused by the crisis and whether the crisis plan was successful or not. Additionally, it involves a follow-up activity.

Communication is the ray of hope for an organisation during and after a crisis. A crisis provides a unique opportunity that allows an organisation to learn and grow. What do you think? Please don’t forget to share your views!

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