Much has been written and said about the wide-ranging impacts of the Covid-19 crisis on businesses around the globe. The turmoil created from the sudden and mass closure of entire industries is like nothing we have ever experienced in our lifetime. The seemingly sudden nature of the pandemic combined with its pervasiveness and length of duration has forced companies and organisations to take a critical look at the maturity of their crisis management response mechanisms.
With the worldwide distribution of newly developed vaccines having begun in earnest, there is widespread hope and optimism that a return to normalcy is just around the corner. While many businesses are still trying to pick up the pieces from the shutdown, they run the risk of ignoring the next impending crisis event. The re-opening of economies and the resumption of normal business operations.
Now you may be thinking, “How can something as positive as the reopening of a business be classified as a crisis?”
A crisis is defined as any event that takes your organisation out of its normal operational posture and has the potential to affect your personnel, physical assets, market positioning and reputation. With that in mind, the re-opening of a business after months (potentially over a year in some cases) of closure or near closure has all the makings of a crisis. No company or organisation in existence today has had to deal with being shut down for multiple months at a time due to a pandemic. With the unpredictability surrounding vaccine distribution as well as the emergence of virus variants, it is quite likely that the re-opening of businesses will be bumpy and uneven to say the least.
It is therefore crucial that businesses approach the re-opening phase of the pandemic crisis, as a unique crisis event on its own requiring the use of crisis management tools. What is the best way to prepare for a crisis? Remember to keep your crisis management program simple, reliable and repeatable. Here are a few tips to get you there:
- Keep your crisis management plan concise and agnostic of specific crisis types
- Include a clear statement of priorities
- Include a declaration of the aim of your crisis management program, endorsed by senior leadership
- List of crisis management team members
- Remember to assign crisis management roles
- Ensure a copy of the plan and supporting meeting scripts are up to date
- Ensure a copy of the plan and supporting meeting scripts are always available to anyone in the organisation who may support crisis management
- As soon as practical, after the crisis ends a review process should take place. Re-create a timeline of events noting observations and/or what worked well and what could be improved
- Plan for at least one tabletop style exercise per year with your entire crisis management team
- Practise often! During weekly meetings, take a deliberate 10 minutes to discuss a crisis that was observed on the news or heard of in your industry
This is of course not an exhaustive list but merely a few points to steer you in the right direction. If you feel that your organisation may be unnecessarily exposed to risks associated with the realities of reopening in a post-Covid environment, the time to act is now. We at RC Advisory Services would be more than happy to meet with you to help you navigate through these unprecedented times.