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Crisis Management Part 3: Careful planning can stop a crisis from turning into a disaster.

By Colin Knox on

Detailed planning and preparation is essential to protect the liability exposure and brand reputation of your Strata Management business in a crisis. Part 3 of our Crisis Management series builds upon Part 2, outlining in detail the crucial elements you need to consider to ensure you have the capability to implement a robust Crisis Management Plan.

For a comprehensive background on Crisis Management, or to refresh your memory on what we covered in Parts 1 and 2 of our Crisis Management series, please click the relevant links below.

Forming a Crisis Management Plan

When formulating an effective Crisis Management Plan, there are 8 crucial elements you need to consider. These are featured below in Figure 1. In Parts 1 and 2 of this series we discussed 3 of these in detail:

  • The importance of an effective Crisis Team to implement your plan
  • The Crisis Escalation Process as a guide on when to trigger your plan
  • How a pre-defined Crisis Response Process will help you and your Crisis Management Team elicit a methodical response in a crisis event.

To assist you in developing a robust Crisis Management Plan, this article provides key insights into the final 5 elements vital to a sound and effective crisis response.

Elements vital to an effective crisis response:

  • Crisis Communications Plan
  • People
  • Facilities and Equipment
  • Maintenance and Governance
  • Record Keeping

Crisi plan v4 highlighted and reduced

Crisis Communications Planning

If you do have a crisis situation at hand, having a pre-prepared communications plan to reference is both essential and incredibly valuable. A Crisis Communications Plan will be pivotal in preserving the reputation of your business, and most importantly, your OC clients. 

Below is an example of what we recommend you do when preparing your Crisis Communications Plan:

  • Determine who your principal spokesperson is going to be
  • Arrange media training if necessary
  • Appoint a Crisis Communications Team
  • Develop a Messaging and Communications Strategy – what are you going to communicate and which channels will you use? E.g. Telephone / text message / email / social media
  • Formulate pre-drafted message templates. While you may not use these precise messages, they will be a very helpful starting point and will assist to quickly pull statements together when in a high pressure, time-crucial situation.

We recommend addressing the 5 key themes below:

  1. Compassion - Care and concern for people
  2. Identify the cause - ‘Facts are being gathered as to the cause of the incident…’
  3. What is being done - ‘Action is being taken to ensure…’
  4. Timetable for future plans - ‘We will get back to you at X time with more information’
  5. Suggestions for protection - ‘We suggest you do X to protect yourself’

Maintenance and Governance of Plan

To ensure your crisis response plan is effective, it is extremely important that it is maintained and managed to reflect your current environment, and responds to those risks that could potentially cause a crisis e.g. terrorism, a fire, flooding, disease etc. To ensure your plan is maintained and governed appropriately, you need to determine the individuals responsible for the following:

  • Maintaining and coordinating the plan
  • Approval of the plan by oversight committee
  • Arranging training to ‘practice the plan’
  • Ensuring the plan is communicated to all Crisis Team members and other key stakeholders

In addition to assigning the roles and responsibilities above, it is imperative you ensure each individual is diligent in carrying out duties within their allocated capacity.

Facilities and Equipment

It is essential that you know what to do as a team if a crisis is declared, and that you have almost everything needed to manage the event at an arms distance. 

As a start, we recommend you determine the following to ensure you are in a state of readiness:

  • Where or how the crisis team will meet in a crisis
  • What facilities will be required, for example:
    • Predetermined and communicated teleconference number
    • Contact directory for key stakeholders
    • IT or other equipment for displaying information

People

One of the most important aspects of managing a crisis is managing the people impacted by the event, whether it be direct or indirect. 

When planning for the management of various crisis scenarios, we suggest you consider the following:

  • Work out who is impacted in each crisis scenario?
    • Tenants / owners
    • Suppliers
    • Neighbours
    • Committee members
  • What the Crisis Team can do to minimise the impact of the event?
  • How can you best support those people impacted directly?
  • What funds are available to assist the support e.g. Insurance / other emergency funds?

 

Record Keeping

Hot Tip v3

Record keeping is key during a crisis event. Logging careful records of what your business said, and how it behaved during a crisis can be a valuable resource for the future, particularly if the response is questioned in a court of law. Should an investigation ensue in the aftermath of a crisis, well-documented records can form helpful evidence to demonstrate that your crisis team made every reasonable effort to ensure the situation was managed appropriately, with the best interests of key stakeholders at heart. 

We recommend you record the following: 

  • Log of the incident events as they unfold
  • Key facts and assumptions
  • Actions taken at each stage
  • Outstanding action items for follow-up at different points in the response

While record keeping is an extremely important component of your Crisis Management response, it is also necessary to make sure you documented information in a practical way. We suggest setting out a basic plan as part of your crisis management plan. 

While the above is by no means an exhaustive guide on Crisis Management Planning, we hope this series of articles has been helpful in providing some direction on how you can begin to formulate your plan.

If you wish to ask for further advice and engage the services of our Risk and Crisis Management consultant, please contact Whitbread’s Risk and Crisis Management Specialist, Colin Knox - Ph. 1300 424 627. Read more on Colin’s expertise by clicking here.

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This insight article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of personal advice.  Please contact Whitbread Associates Pty Ltd ABN 69 005 490 228 Licence Number: 229092 trading as Whitbread Insurance Brokers for further information or refer to our website.

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