Many businesses neglect crisis planning as they believe that 'It will never happen to us', or because day to day operations take up all of their time and little priority is given to planning for the unexpected. But in the words of Benjamin Frankilin, 'By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail' – and never is this more true than if you are faced with handling a crisis.
It is often the case that events that constitute a crisis could seem a bit far-fetched, but the unlikeliness of an event does not indicate the potential impact it could have on your business. The majority of clients that we support following an accident in the workplace would never have foreseen the accident happening to them, but serious damage to a businesses reputation can be caused by million pound fines and extensive media coverage.
With careful management of staff and health & safety, regular training and reviewing and updating of policies and procedures, many incidents can be prevented. Even when a smaller incident does occur, co-ordinated, balanced and timely communication can prevent an incident from escalating into a crisis. Responding in a sensitive manner, delivering apologies where necessary and accepting responsibility early, if appropriate, can go a long way to safeguarding a businesses reputation – often that it has spent many years building.
Social media now plays a huge part in our everyday lives – sometime for the good, but it can also be very damaging. It is no longer days or hours before news spreads, but minutes, even seconds. Being able to identify the right person to respond and respond quickly is vital and the key to this is preparation. Having a Crisis Management Plan that includes communication is essential. A plan that is well exercised will allow individuals to quickly take control and provide them with responsibility and accountability and be able to manage the crisis and share information with the right people in a timely manner.
Planning for a crisis that may never happen is often seen as unnecessary and a waste of precious time, money and resources. Just like the home insurance you pay annually and never claim on, it can feel like an unnecessary burden, but when a burst pipe causes significant flood damage out of the blue, how valuable is that policy? Preparing for a crisis and having a crisis management plan in place is exactly the same. If the time comes when a crisis occurs, the time and resources invested in planning will pay dividends. Protecting your business reputation and your workforce is essential. Without them where would your business be today?
If you would like to make sure your business is not prepared to fail, DWF's experienced Crisis Management Team can help you with all aspects of Crisis Management, from crisis planning and training, through to response and recovery in the event of an incident. Please contact Vikki.Woodfine@dwf.law or Mark.Thompson@dwf.law for further information.