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Crisis Preparedness and Planning: Getting Your Organization on Board Webinar Recap

As everybody adjusts to the “new normal” of stay-at-home orders, remote work, and social distancing, businesses and organizations have been running through their business continuity and crisis plans after being hit economically and operationally by the COVID-19 pandemic. Two weeks ago, we hosted an informational webinar with Clint Emerson, a retired Navy SEAL, New York Times Best Selling Author, emergency preparedness professional, and owner of Escaping the Wolf. Emerson covered how to prepare employees for an event and manage the aftereffects, the three simple steps to crisis management, and the five pillars to successful program development.

“Keep it simple; crisis will complicate the rest."

When creating a crisis management policy or directive, it should be both written and kept simple to ensure everybody who reads it can understand it. The policy then becomes the anchor that is attached to emergency communication plans, training plans, training drills, education, and more. Businesses should always be testing this policy so that it can continually be updated and improved upon.

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“Proper planning prevents poor performance.” 

Having a comprehensive crisis management plan in place is crucial. Emerson explains that if you have no plan in place, you are leading yourself to failure. When creating a crisis management plan, you must allow for flexibility and plan for the events you hope will never impact your business, such as a global pandemic. An organization should also include all important stakeholders and decision makers from each department to provide their individual inputs and work together on creating a plan.

Related Blog: What, When, and How to Communicate with Employees about  Coronavirus

The communication aspect of a crisis management plan is extremely important. Having technology, such as a mass notification platform, on your side to push notifications and messaging out to an entire company, or segmented lists of specific departments, will allow you to communicate effectively to everybody involved. 

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“Complacency kills.” 

Being satisfied with a crisis management plan or policy is not good. Over time business leaders may become complacent as they believe their plan needs no changes and are not making efforts to update and adjust the plan. Businesses should always be looking for ways to improve upon their crisis management plan, whether it’s finding better ways to streamline it, adding additional communication features, or practicing the plan repeatedly to find holes that should be addressed.

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The Five Pillars to Program Development

The big five pillars to any program are the following, explained Emerson:

  1. Policy
    The policy is the backbone. You must have some kind of doctrine in place. When developing a policy, usually businesses will see shortfalls and gaps that must be filled.
  2. Communication
    A communication plan is essential. Emerson describes breaking out a communication plan like a wedding cake. The majority of the workforce would be the bottom layer of the cake, the middle layer would be the management teams and company directors, and the top of the cake is the C-Suite. Each layer should have a streamlined communication plan and relying on technology, such as a critical communications platform, can be a simple yet huge help during a crisis situation.
  3. Training
    Effective training plans are extremely important. Emerson explains that it’s key to keep adult learning criteria in mind when creating training materials, as typically employees will have difficulty learning training plans that are over 8 minutes. Keeping training plans and videos under 8 minutes is ideal.
    The speed in which training material is read within a training video is also something to keep in mind. The slower the reader is, the more likely an employee will listen to what the speaker is trying to say. A Harvard study proved that when the cadence is slowed down, the listener will hang on to every word.
    Without implementing adult learning criteria, employees may not be properly trained as they weren’t absorbing the information, which could be detrimental during a crisis.
  4. Collection
    The investigation after an incident, the surveys conducted within the workforce, and the data needed to lead into the next pillar, reporting, are all a part of the collection pillar.
  5. Reporting
    When reporting, business leaders can take the data collected to then analyze it to find shortfalls to then feed back into the policy.

3 Simple Steps to Crisis Management 

When you build a crisis management program it’s important to include the below 3 simple steps:

  1. Preparedness
    Being prepared will make a huge difference on how exactly a crisis, such as a pandemic or active assailant, will impact you. Your workforce knowing exactly before something bad happens during a crisis is key to preparedness.
  2. Mitigation
    Currently during today’s pandemic we’re in the mitigation phase. We have identified what the problem is, which is the virus, and what to do to make sure it doesn’t spread.
  3. Recovery or Reintegration
    In the case of the current pandemic, recovery may be considered reintegration. This phase is when company leaders are determining the best way to reintegrate safely following the coronavirus, and what next steps need to be taken.

If you missed this webinar and would like to watch it, you can download the recording below!

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Tara Gibson
Tara Gibson

Tara is a Marketing Coordinator on the Rave Mobile Safety marketing team. She loves writing about all things K-12, State & Local, Higher Ed, Corporate, and Healthcare, and manages the Rave social media channels. When she's not working, she's taking care of her smiley, shoe eating, Instagram-famous fur baby, Enzo!

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