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3 Ways to Improve Your Crisis Communications Plan After COVID-19

Image of Shahad Alfarraj
Shahad Alfarraj

Risk professionals in many sectors have been forced to urgently assess the short-and long-term consequences of the current coronavirus pandemic. Extensive pressure has been applied to adapt quickly when preparing for probable future risks and challenges. This need for immediate action, along with the need to anticipate risk and create a strategy for the reinstatement of regular operations, is sufficient to challenge even the most stringent risk management preparations.  

The sheer degree of damage triggered by coronavirus puts new focus on the all-encompassing nature of these kinds of events. Organizations soon recognize that robust risk control management and disaster procedures are essential. What is more, they understand the value of communication strategy planning. Communication with employees, investors, consumers, and others is crucial to ensuring that all stakeholders understand the situation and support risk mitigation efforts.  As organizations have stepped up their communication strategies around the coronavirus, there are ways to build on best practices and incorporate key tactics into future risk management and crisis response measures.  

"Transparency is job one in a crisis," writes Harvard professor and management and leadership expert Amy Edmonson. By now, virtually all companies have shared a statement or update on coronavirus, from the world's most giant corporations to the smallest family-owned businesses. Customers and stakeholders expect an update from your organization about how the coronavirus has impacted your business and what steps you are taking to resolve it.  

Organizations who do not provide any contribution or lackluster updates in the face of this situation is at risk of a few unfavorable outcomes. Customers and clients may presume that you do not take the required measures to respond directly to your companyWorse, they may think that you have something to hide. At this stage in the unfolding crisis, the response approaches a core component of the overall risk management planHere are some key tactics to improve the risk management response and coordination in the ongoing crisis that can be used in future risk management plans and crisis scenarios.  

  1. Make Your Task Force Permanent 

 Many organizations have appointed an internal team to track and coordinate changes in COVID-19 and define the appropriate responses and actions. Risk management certainly plays a vital role in many of these teamsFormalizing this task force and exchanging crucial information with consumers and the public shows your determination to keep ahead of the situation and effectively navigate strategies and next moves.  

In the case of members of this task force, the coronavirus pandemic is likely to have been a crash course in successful communication. Do not let your hard-earned experience go to waste. Instead of dismantling the task force as things begin to return to normal, re-establish it as a continuing crisis management unitUsing team experience to strengthen the reaction to the next crisis.  

  1. Refine Your Communication Channels 

 Consider media preparation and another communication coaching for critical members of the task forceNote, this task force must be more than just a coordination strategyThe team that you have built up to tackle this situation must have the time and resources needed to respond to COVID-19—and what is next.  

When stakeholders use this hub and other communications, keep a close watch on metricsTrack which updates were more viewed when downloadedTake the time to read and react to feedback and consumer sentiments. Many of these assessments provide useful insights into what consumers, employees, and others prioritize in times of crisisKnowing who and where the team is waiting for updates will improve all your crisis communications efficiency.  

  1. Adapt Your Response Plan 

Taken as a whole, the coronavirus was almost impossible to anticipate and plan effectivelyHowever, it was possible to predict individual risks and business impactsSome organizations have developed remote employment guidelines, such as enhanced public health protocols for employees or client interactions. For coronavirus, we predict changes in the market or regulatory environment regularlyBut this is not the only crisis that needs consistency and adaptability in the risk management plan—frequent adjustments and improvements are required 

Organizations who discuss the situation with their creditors and their business continuity plans will be best prepared for any future crisis. The current coronavirus outbreak offers an emphatic case study for each organization to reflect on the risk management and emergency response processesIt is essential to use this pandemic to better prepare for future risk events of all kinds.  

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