How to improve your emergency response and crisis management with two-way communication
by Neil Conchie, on Jul 2, 2021 12:30:00 PM
The word “emergency” haunts every business owner’s nightmares.
They can have insurance in place, and measures to reduce the risk of something tragic happening - but natural disasters such as fires, floods, and storms can not be stopped.
69% of business leaders experienced at least one corporate crisis from 2014-2019.
Then the pandemic hit.
Employees were put at risk, and communication channels were challenged as hundreds and thousands of staff were sent to work at home.
We believe that every team should be prepared to handle emergencies such as pandemics, unavoidable disasters, IT failures, and even "bad press".
Crisis response doesn't have to be difficult - management and strategy require "3 measures'": training procedures, responsive employees, and above all: strong communication on reliable platforms.
Measure #1 - Training Procedures
Some training procedures are a legal requirement. Emergency planning like informing new employees where the fire exits are, holding fire drills, and having a first-aider on shift are common occurrences in the workplace.
We also suggest:
1. Hosting team-building and problem-solving exercises to train your employees to stay calm and have a clear head in emergencies. Working as team units allows them to improve communication skills and feel more trusting in the workplace.
2. Invite breathing experts for a class and host mindfulness sessions or yoga before work. This can help elevate stress and equip your staff to handle difficult situations without feeling overwhelmed. Breathing exercises are great for transforming mindsets during emergencies and help people respond promptly without panicking.
3. Make sure to have default measures in place for a variety of potential emergencies. You can have trained individuals ready to take the lead for specific potential emergencies. For example, having an in-house IT professional or outsourced IT management allows your staff to have someone to refer to when servers are down. Leadership provides strong support systems in crisis and helps keep the majority of your staff calm with a clear direction.
Measure #2 - Responsive and Flexible Staff
A lot of interviews feature these questions: "Give us an example of where you had to handle a difficult situation. What was your response?"
Taking note of replies and recruiting staff that are likely to handle emergencies with a positive outlook can be hugely beneficial to your team. Personality traits can be measured to predict how someone would respond "when thrown in the deep end" - and judging this is especially important for leadership positions.
60% of adults do not actively practice emergency response (such as testing fire alarms in their house or taking first aid training). Looking for staff, such as retail workers, who are used to handling emergencies can give you a huge benefit when it comes to crisis response.
Measure #3 - Strong Communication and Reliable Communication Platforms
Communication is the crux of any emergency.
Teams that can respond, evacuate, and solve problems together can make a huge difference to the outcome of your emergency. Providing
the right communication platforms can stop team members from putting themselves at risk with lengthy email chains or cut-off phone lines when a crisis has arisen.
We recommend installing two-way communication platforms built for managing and responding to emergencies.
You should be looking for platforms that allow you to “reach out to the right people at the right time.”
For example, our platform Klaxon lets you send template messages to at-risk employees within seconds. Additionally, Klaxon allows you to monitor who has seen critical messages and know where extra support is needed.
These are the factors every two-way communication platform needs.
Whilst you can reach your employees, there's also the benefit of the reverse - they can flag for support in dangerous situations - providing protection, security, and demonstrating your duty of care.