Crises are inevitable due to the complex nature of the modern business but how enterprises plan for these eventualities and react once they strike makes the difference between a small setback and a full-scale disaster.

Disaster recovery usually falls under four main risk scenarios; loss of data, loss of IT function, loss of skills and loss to access to premises. Enterprises need to work diligently to prevent any of these outcomes and implement a robust strategy that will reduce the impact of a crisis and avoid the potential for financial and reputational ruin.

Crisis management

Hire experts

A crisis such as cyberattacks can have a debilitating effect on various aspects of a business and can cause significant financial and reputational damage. Also, a lack of qualified personnel can make it even more difficult to cope with the aftermath of a hack, attack or breach. Hiring an IT contractor with knowledge of hardware, databases, networks, encryption and firewalls is critical during a security crisis as they will work to mitigate the impact and help you to monitor the threat landscape in the future.

Sourcing flexible workers is a good idea following a crisis anyway as you will be able to access expertise on a short-term basis while you scale your business to react to problems and attempt to recover and move forward. Hiring a contractor who is registered with an umbrella company is beneficial in these situations as the third party will already manage their tax affairs, expenses, contractor pay and deal with any issues, which will streamline the process considerably.

Come together

Technological disasters and workplace disagreements can plunge a seemingly strong team into a crisis, but it is important that employees don’t withdraw into themselves when they are needed the most.

To maintain a productive and positive environment, hold regular meetings, send daily email updates and provide information in a quick and timely manner to reduce fear and speculation. Be honest and open to any concerns that are raised and try to find an appropriate solution.

Young businessman doing conference call during online course

Contact customers and suppliers immediately

Crisis management must cover every third party with whom it concerns, which could be customers in the case of a breach or suppliers with a work based setback. It is important that you react swiftly and inform them so they don’t hear about it from the media, as this could cause further damage to the brand. Make sure to keep them updated during and after the event too.

Trust comms advisors

Marketing faux pas can result in a backlash from customers and even the media, and an inability to deal with requests for a response in house can cause long-term damage to the brand. Working with a public relations enterprise will enable you to distribute key messages, establish a team to handle communications on social platforms and train representatives for interviews. Consistent messaging and showing you are sympathetic to all concerns is vital.

“Crises that attract media attention can happen to any organisation, large or small,” MHP Communications managing director, Ian Kirby says. “Preparing for this eventuality and fully trusting crisis communications advisors is essential; reacting once something has gone wrong makes it much harder to preserve a business’s reputation.”