In May, we asked our readers if their companies have a comprehensive crisis management plan in place, and the results show that many businesses may not be as prepared as they should be in the event of a crisis.

According to the results, only 33% of respondents said they were as prepared as possible to respond to a crisis. This is a concerning statistic because it means another 67% of respondents may be putting themselves at risk.  And given the impact a major crisis can have on a company’s stability and success, it’s a risk that may be too big to take.

One of the most publicized examples within the past year is discount retailer Target’s massive data breach. It has been more than seven months since the breach was initially detected, and the company is still fighting to clean up and restore its image. According to some sources, the cost associated with the crisis has reached $200 million.

Of the 67% of respondents to our May poll who said their companies are not as prepared as possible to weather a crisis:

  • 32% said they have no crisis management plan at all
  • 20% said they have general guidelines, but no real plan in place
  • 11% said they aren’t sure whether or not they have a plan
  • 3% said they have a plan, but it is outdated

So, why is a crisis management plan so important?

  • Prepares you for the unpredictable
    Obviously. If businesses had a schedule of when a crisis was going to happen, it wouldn’t be a crisis. While there are often warning signs, crisis events are unpredictable, so it’s important to build a plan to manage the fallout long before you need it.
  • Puts all your ducks in a row
    When a company has a comprehensive crisis management plan in place, everyone will know their roles and what course of action they should immediately take to respond when a crisis arises. From identifying a spokesperson and key stake holders to ensuring vital processes are in place that will help minimize damages, trying to build an effective plan mid-crisis is often a losing battle.
  • Minimizes damage to company, employees, and customers
    From natural disasters to workplace violence to social media gaffes, dealing with the aftermath of a crisis requires swift, purposeful, and guided action in order to minimize the damage. Not only is the company’s reputation and stability on the line, but depending on the crisis, the effects could easily trickle down to affect the lives of your employees and customers.

Has your company ever had to address a crisis? Did you have a plan in place ahead of time? What was the outcome? Let us know in the comments section below.

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