Effective Incident Management: How to Prepare for a Business Crisis

Effective Incident Management: How to Prepare for a Business Crisis

Don’t let an emergency or disaster derail your business. Prepare now to ensure you are ready for nasty surprises.

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All businesses are vulnerable to a crisis, and more than 50 percent will fail within two years after a major negative incident. You may have a plan to respond to disasters such as fire, tornadoes, etc., but do you have a plan for other incidents?

Preparation Minimizes Fallout

Preparation is the key to successfully handling an incident or crisis that may affect your business while minimizing potential fallout.

What if you have an active shooter? Or more likely, what about a sexual harassment charge? A crisis can range from natural disasters to confidentiality breaches to criminal behavior to terrorism. While this is scary and may sound ominous, there are steps you can take to prepare and to help minimize any negative effects.

Preparation is the key to successfully handling an incident or crisis that may affect your business while minimizing potential fallout.

11 Tips for Successful Incident Management

Here are some tips to ensure that your business is prepared to emerge successfully from a crisis:

  • Assess risks—Conduct a vulnerability audit. Review your business practices to anticipate potential incidents that could affect your operation, safety or reputation.
  • Provide safety training—Make it mandatory to help ensure a safe workplace and that your business operates incident-free.
  • Develop security plans—Make sure you address all forms of security, including document security procedures, shredding, desktops, the internet, etc.
  • Prepare for severe weather—No matter your location, you can experience weather issues. It doesn’t matter whether you are in a flood zone, hurricane area or could be affected by severe winter weather, be prepared.
  • Protect what’s important—Purchase insurance and back up all your data in case of an accident, theft or a security breach.
  • Secure your premises—Have a professional security assessment of your premises done, including the building, parking areas, interior areas, etc.
  • Designate a crisis management team—Establish a team of key personnel in marketing, legal, public relations/social media and outside counsel to develop a crisis management plan.
  • Create a plan—Identify scenarios most likely to affect your business, and work with your crisis management team to design a plan of action for each scenario.
  • Define roles—Work with your crisis team to define functional responsibilities for your leadership team during a crisis, as they may differ from day-to-day operations.
  • Prepare employees—Gather your department leaders together annually or bi-annually and role-play a crisis scenario to build their confidence for any possible crisis situation that may strike.
  • Evaluate your plan—Test your plan to address any flaws or inconsistencies and make adjustments.

While nothing can prevent some incidents from occurring, these steps can help you to be ready and to minimize any damage if you experience a crisis. It’s an investment in your company’s future.