Navigating Confidently Through Crisis: How You can Pandemic-Proof Your Business
It’s been a difficult few weeks. The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly spreading across all continents and affecting not only human life but also the global economy. Some businesses are struggling to survive, while some businesses are peering through the fog of uncertainty. Most enterprises are bleeding money or even shutting down.
There are several questions running through people’s minds – When will this crisis end? How to verify information related to the virus? What data is essential? Where are the gaps and how to fill them? What about the financial risks to the business? How to handle the aftermath of this pandemic?
Several businesses across the globe have quickly responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by developing their emergency plans. Some are starting from square one, while some are remodeling their existing plans to combat. It is never too late to completely understand the gravity of the situation and its long-lasting impact. Businesses, big or small, should act now and take the initiative to help improve their contingency. Drive through the COVID-19 crisis unscathed by creating a plan and implementing it swiftly. Here’s how you can go about it:
Organize a crisis team
To stay on top of your business, you need to organize a crisis team. Businesses need to focus on how to combat this unprecedented situation and communicate with stakeholders. To battle this crisis, you need to organize a dedicated crisis team. Each and every member of the team should be aware of what the other members are doing- from the executive leadership down. Communication, collaboration, and co-operation are critical at such moments of crisis. In case you don’t have a crisis team, create one and train the people regularly involved in executing plans, so that they are ready to act whenever it’s necessary.
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Circulate authentic data
The core foundation of crisis planning and response is authentic data. It is very important that the crisis plan outline addresses how information flows and its authenticity. The right and reliable data is the key element of crisis planning as you can explore various scenarios and their effectiveness in the long run. According to a survey, three-quarters of those businesses that have emerged stronger after a crisis acknowledged the importance of the authenticity of facts during the crisis. At times of crisis, they gathered all facts and information quickly and accurately and used it to appraise their response strategy.
Drive internal and external collaboration
The main teams at the core of any crisis response are:
Communications and public relations teams: They take the responsibility to develop and deliver the messages from the organization internally as well as externally.
Administrative and legal teams: Their main task is to discern the organization’s risk exposures and intimate people on precise and suitable responses.
Operational response teams: They are responsible for monitoring the above-mentioned teams and handling other tasks.
The communications, legal, and operational teams work in separate silos. Therefore at times, there may be some difficulties in collaborating. You need to organize a core committee from these teams and empower them to make strategic decisions and bring to the surface important issues. Such an effective approach helps organizations to manage a crisis response.
Design a stakeholder communications strategy
In this time of crisis, an organization’s message must be authentic. During previous crises, some organizations used to intimate only particular groups of stakeholders like investors, vociferous consumers, and regulators, thereby disregarding suppliers and business customers. Therefore, it is imperative to address all the stakeholders of the organization.
Your communications strategy must include the safety and security of your workforce. Employees count on the organization for your guidance, response, and constant communications. You must review your HR policies, travel rules, and health care plans, and develop ways to execute the arrangements.
- Work from home: Many organizations are flexible and focus on global mobility. They enable employees to work remotely. Arrangements are made by the IT department to provide full support to the employees. At the time of crisis, organizations should introduce and support WFH for their employees as it not only saves time but increases their productivity too. This way, organizations not only build employee-centric work culture but also enhance their ROI.
- The health of employees and customers: Your topmost priority must be the health and safety of your employees and customers. Stop them from traveling and migrating from different locations. Consider communicating with the clients using technology-enabled tools.
Ensure that your communication strategy is effective by knowing and understanding your audience. You must consider two things:
- Financial declarations: You must disclose how your business will plan for the uncertainty and decide to respond to events, as it is closely observed by the financial markets.
- Clients/Customers: Businesses that have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak are constantly keeping their customers up to date about their orders, delays, balancing, and handling of product disbursement or services to enhance profits or meet their deadlines.
Transparency and engagement with your stakeholders can be highly beneficial for you, as they will be advocating and completely support you during this time of crisis.
What to do next?
Allocate those human resources/workforces who are under the pressure of routinely managing the crisis, to strategize for the future. You need to think not only about the present but also for the future. This will give you a wider and long-term perspective. Create and execute scenarios that will be beneficial to your business. Your business will rise like a phoenix from the ashes if you play your cards right.
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