Lesson 3 - Audiences and the Early Warning System

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Audiences

 

In general, crisis communications are directed to two kinds of audiences – Internal audiences and external audiences.

Communications directed internally can become part of the operational actions that may be put in place. For example, new, safer procedures may have to quickly be communicated to employees.

Employees are Critical to the Process

Did you know...

Employees are your highest-priority audience during a crisis. Yet, this rule is often ignored by organizations in crises.

Effective Communications

Internal communications must be directed in collaboration with outside agencies that may be helping your organization, such as the fire or police departments and EMS.

Externally directed communications will often need to emphasize two audiences: customers, both existing and potential) and the news media.

Effective communications to these two audiences are fundamental to your organization’s ability to survive a crisis.

Crisis communications to customers and the media protect your organization’s brand and reputation while imparting accurate information to stakeholders about the crisis incident at hand.

Internal Stakeholders

 

  • Employees
  • Contractors
  • Partners
  • Board members
  • Investors
  • Police
  • Fire
  • EMS
External Stakeholders

 

  • Customers – existing and potential
  • Elected Officials/Regulators
  • Affiliate Organizations
  • Media – traditional and new
  • NGOs, e.g., Environmental Community
  • Vendors/Suppliers
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Prioritizing Scenarios

 

Your organization’s employees are the highest-priority audience during a crisis. And they are your most important audience in crisis preparedness. Employees are the eyes and ears of the organization, and they can and should be trained to serve as an early warning system. They will need to be strategically communicated with well in advance of any crisis to learn their responsibilities and actions to take when facing a potential or actual crisis.

 

Employees - The Early Warning System

Did you know...

According to the Society for Human Resource Management 2005 Disaster Preparedness Survey Report, “65% of HR professionals believe that their organizations are well or very well prepared for a crisis or disaster, in contrast to the perceptions of employees, only 50% of whom think their organizations are well or very well pre-pared.”

Include Employees Through the Whole Crisis Preparedness Process
  • Well in advance of any crisis, your employees must be communicated with so they are taught their role in watching for crises, or potential crises, and know how to respond.
  • During a crisis, employees must be kept informed about the crisis and the progress the organization is making in addressing it.
  • They can be equipped with your organization’s key messages in order to deliver them to customers and to their communities.
  • Internal crisis communications keep employees confident in management, will help them to maintain their morale and productivity, and will focus their support for the organization in its time of crisis.
  • What is the best way to communicate with employees during a crisis? When possible: personal, regular, interactive meetings.
  • Employees can also be empowered to monitor customer or vendor relations during a crisis – one way to help gauge the effectiveness of your crisis communications.

Early Warning System

 

Communications to employees about their responsibility to be on the lookout for potential and actual crises and how to report them could take multiple forms:

• Posters
• Wallet cards
• Emails
• Voice mails
• SMS

OR some combination of the above; or all of the above.

 

The Early Warning System

Did you know...

In its 2014 Crisis Management Survey of 375 global respondents, Steelhenge, a UK-based crisis consultancy found that, “Almost a quarter (24%) of respondents recorded that they do not have a documented Crisis Communications Plan.” The survey also found that, “63% of respondents recorded that their Crisis Communications Plan was part of their Crisis Management Plan. 24% said their plans were separate or they had either a CMP or a CCP. The balance had no crisis plans.”

Notifying Employees

Upon presenting the notice to employees, supervisors should verbally convey to each employee the following messages and reiterate them regularly:

  • A crisis is an occurrence or condition that could harm our organization’s reputation or brand and lead to a loss of business.
  • It is part of every employee’s job to continuously be alert to situations that could lead to a crisis and to respond quickly and appropriately to a crisis situation.
  • Responding may mean taking actions yourself as you judge appropriate, such as immediately correcting an unsafe situation or providing first aid to someone who is injured.
  • Responding to the crisis or potential crisis always includes immediately reporting the incident to your manager.

Employees of all levels and their managers from all levels must understand that their responsibilities include serving as part of the organization’s early warning system that protects the entire enterprise.

 

 

Responding
  • It is part of every employee’s job to continuously be alert to situations that could lead to a crisis and to respond quickly and appropriately to a crisis situation.
  • Responding may mean taking actions yourself as you judge appropriate, such as immediately correcting an unsafe situation or providing first aid to someone who is injured.
  • Responding to the crisis or potential crisis always includes immediately reporting the incident to your manager.
  • Employees of all levels and their managers from all levels must understand that their responsibilities include serving as part of the organization’s early warning system that protects the entire enterprise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesson 3 - Audiences and the Early Warning System

 

 

 

 

 

 


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