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How to keep your employees calm during an emergency

by Neil Conchie, on Jan 20, 2021 9:30:00 AM

We know that panicking is often not helpful in an emergency, but how can your communication help to keep your employees calm? There are a number of crisis management solutions you can implement to prep both your organisation and your team should the worst happen. 

If you’re not prepared, you’re opening yourself up to the possibility of downtime with no clear indication of when you’ll be back up and running. Similarly, in the world’s currently unpredictable state, how will you communicate effectively with a dispersed workforce?

These components that we often take for granted can add up to a big deal if you’re not ready for them. So, how can you keep your employees calm during an emergency? 

Emergency Management 

Having an emergency plan or emergency management system in place is imperative to keeping calm during an incident. Many organisations do not have such a plan, but of the ones that did, 71% activated their emergency communications plans at least once in the last 12 months. Even though it was just one - that one incident could prove catastrophic for your company if you’re not prepared. Thankfully, the majority were prepared and had some kind of system in place.

It can be difficult enough trying to effectively communicate developments and updates across an organisation without factoring in a crisis incident. This only becomes more chaotic and off-the-cuff when something goes wrong. This only lengthens the amount of downtime you will be experiencing overall. 

A trend that often reappears following an incident where there is no plan in place is that the response time or the acknowledgement of the incident is often not quick enough. This leads to employees not only panicking but going off to do their own thing. This is all very well until someone does the wrong thing...and potentially escalates the entire situation. This lack of coordination can have detrimental effects on recovery time. 

Keeping a cool head and knowing what to do is much easier when you’ve got a dedicated plan to follow. Planning is important in these situations if employees have a rough idea of the emergency plan for a given situation they will feel more prepared to deal with it during an actual emergency. Another benefit of ‘practice drills’ is that they can highlight any weaknesses in the planning to create room for improvement or pointers for more effective crisis management. 

Shockingly, only 22% of organisations take less than 5 minutes to activate plans. Those precious minutes make all the difference in a crisis, so the sooner they can be activated the better. This is just another reason why having an emergency management system combined with a rehearsed plan should be a priority within any organisation. 

A Fragmented Workforce 

77% of businesses see communicating with staff as the greatest challenge during crisis management. When you factor in a global pandemic and a dispersed workforce, this then becomes an even greater challenge. Concise and clear communication is key during an emergency.

In case of disaster, you need a robust method of communication to reduce downtime to the business and keep your team safe. It will also help to mitigate any risks, allowing your people to stay productive. 

People will panic in a crisis situation. That’s a given. Being able to roll out pre-prepared clear, concise information in regards to an incident, can ensure you convey to your team the instructions they should and should not take. Employees should feel well enough informed and able to deal with the emergency effectively. 

What about the aftermath? If your team has been negatively impacted by the incident, how do you follow-up with them? 

There is always the potential for a serious incident such as terrorism, fire or severe weather to name a few. Whilst these will affect your company, they will have a more immediate (and longer-lasting) impact on the staff involved. 

Most crisis management systems have some form of protocols in place that accounts for this but this one-way interaction arguably isn’t that effective. Wellness checks and regular check-ins are more effective when they are a two-way process. Tailoring your notifications to the individual or the team, rather than sending out a seemingly insincere message to all, helps employees to feel cared for and protected during an emergency. Keep track of who is impacted and offer the team a chance to submit if and how the incident has affected them privately and securely.

Just over half (59%) of organisations worldwide utilise a crisis management/emergency notification tool or software (Business Continuity Institute, 2019). 

Preparedness is mindfulness. You wouldn’t enter into most situations without a plan or some semblance of what to expect. So, why do you allow your comms and your crisis management system to sit idly by when it could be saving you a potential headache (time, resources, money...) in the future? 

Klaxon offers real-time solutions for major incident communications. Messages can be sent to targeted or dispersed audiences and provide relevant information during critical incidents to ensure business continuity through technology (that can work offline). 

Use our platform to solve your challenges to connect any audience to important events as soon as they happen. Klaxon is significantly more simple and intuitive to its competitors in this market and has the capability to be the international leader in this space. See for yourself just why that is. 


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Topics:CommunicationIncident CommunicationsBest PracticesCrisis Communications