Why It Pays To Educate Employees On Crisis Management

Why It Pays To Educate Employees On Crisis Management

Every employee in your organization — and I’m really talking every employee — has a role to play in crisis prevention and management. While their levels of involvement will vary, you need everyone to understand what’s expected of them, from crisis prevention through response and recovery.

Having a well-prepared staff is key to avoiding crises where you can … and responding effectively where you can’t. So I’m going to explain why it pays to have every employee receive some level of crisis management education.

  1. Problems are spotted before a full-blown crisis hits.

Today’s social media monitoring technology is amazing but it still can’t beat a team of real, live human beings. That’s why you want your team participating in communities both online and off – to look for mentions of things you’re doing well, what you might focus on more, and signs of issues on the horizon. This includes negative posts in niche areas of the internet like private Facebook groups and Nextdoor, or even folks venting grievances during conversations in the grocery store. Educating your team members on how valuable this info is, and how helpful it is for them to share it with you when detected, can help you stop issues from becoming full-blown crises.

  1. Stress levels are lower.

Facing the unknown can be stressful. You can provide serious stress relief by doing things like letting employees know you have plans in place for crisis and reputation management, or teaching them about best practices and their expected role in a crisis situation. And when stress levels go down, their effectiveness at helping your organization prevent and manage a crisis goes up.

  1. Crisis-related communications flow properly.

When facing serious crises or reputation threats, it’s critical to have communications be consistent. And the way to achieve this is by only having them come from one assigned source within your organization: aka your spokesperson.

On most days, communications with customers, business partners, or referral sources might be handled somewhat informally. But when it’s crisis time, you need every single employee to be clear on who they redirect questions to, and how they can do that effectively. It’s something employees typically do quite well, but you aren’t setting them up for success by springing the concept at the last second. Advance education and practice are key.

  1. All employees are brand ambassadors.

It’s important for every member of the team to understand that today, employees are perceived as representing their employer’s brand both in and outside of the workplace. By knowing crisis management best practices, and by understanding what constitutes a reputation threat, they’re better positioned to avoid unintentionally creating an issue themselves. In my experience, the majority of crises are created completely by accident – particularly when we’re talking about reputation woes. Unfortunately that doesn’t make them less damaging.

  1. You may find the newest member of your “official” crisis management team.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have more team members in house who are eager and ready to help with crisis management? You might already have the perfect person on your team…and not know it.  It’s not unusual for crisis education and training to spark a team member’s interest in learning more and expanding professional horizons – or give them an opportunity to reveal hidden skills, like public speaking, writing, or a talent for social media, just to name a few. Giving your team members the opportunity to get crisis management training can create new opportunities for both employees and your organization as a whole.

I can tell you from experience that an organization full of people who understand the importance of crisis management efforts, and what their specific roles are when it comes to crunch time, prevent more negative events and drastically shorten the length of any given crisis situation versus those who come in unprepared. Take the time to educate your own employees and watch it pay off.

The BCM Blogging Team