This crisis communication plan will outline a generic, basic crisis communication plan. To apply it to your situation you may need to adjust some things and add your own information. It is not intended to answer all questions or fill all needs it is just a basic outline of options you might consider if and when you are in the midst of a crisis and need help. A crisis is any situation that threatens the integrity or reputation of your company, usually brought on by adverse or negative media attention. These situations can be any kind of legal dispute, theft, accident, fire, flood or manmade disaster that could be attributed to your company. It can also be a situation where in the eyes of the media or general public your company did not react to one of the above situations in the appropriate manner. This definition is not all encompassing but rather is designed to give you an idea for the types of situations where you may need to follow this plan.
- If handled correctly the damage can be minimized.
- One thing to remember that is crucial in a crisis is tell it all, tell it fast and tell the truth. If you do this you have done all you can to minimize the situation.
- When a situation arises that may be a crisis the first thing you should do is contact your CEO and the chief of your public relations department. The sooner you get those two organizations involved the sooner you can implement this plan.
This team is essential to identify what actions should be taken. the team should be comprised of individuals who are key to the situation. They should include as a minimum the CEO, the chief of Public Relations, the Vice President, the Senior manager from the division in charge of the area that was involved in the situation that has brought about the crisis, the safety and/or security officer, the organization Lawyer, and anyone else who might be able to shed some light on the situation such as eye witnesses. The job of this team is to come up with a plan of action and decide who the spokesperson should be.
A copy of the management recall roster should be attached and should include cellular phone numbers and beeper numbers if each team member has one (either one or the other should be issued to the primary team members at least). As you will find out a crisis is not always at the most convenient time and place. A complete management list is recommended as you never can tell who may be needed.
To decide on a position, it is important to step out of your role in the company and put yourself in the situation of whom ever was involved in the crisis or try to view the crisis from the eye of the public. Ignoring the situation will only make things worse. Examples of categories to consider for positioning are:
- Human error
- Clerical error
- Unauthorized procedures
- Inadequate supervision
- Inadequate quality control
- Misuse of confidential information
- Errors of judgement
- Inadequate standard operating procedures
As you are considering the position it is important to consider the wide range of consequences (e.g., legal, financial, public relations, effects on administration, effects on operations).