A crisis can come to your company’s doorstep in countless ways. From a data security breach, to workplace violence, to a plain old public relations (PR) disaster, your frontline managers should be prepared to respond to a wide range of incidents with a clear head, and a mind for how to secure your employees, your assets, and your reputation.
Read on for our top tips on what frontline managers need to know when responding to a crisis in the workplace.
1. Stay Calm
When faced with an emergency situation, you need your management to serve as the calm center of the storm. This is paramount in every type of crisis; from issuing instructions to employees to stay safe in the presence of an active shooter, to setting a professional tone when your social media platform is being bombarded with bad reviews, it’s vital that your management stays collected and present instead of giving into panic or fear. Their team will model whatever tone is set, so work to actively exude a solution oriented, confident presence of mind, and your company will not only survive, but might even thrive in a crisis.
2. Stay in Communication
Frontline management should be a key part of any company’s crisis planning efforts, but it’s also important to have them function as part of a larger team. If you contract with a crisis management firm, make clear that frontline managers understand the expectations for communicating at every stage of the crisis. Consider developing a set of emergency flip charts to aid in speedy visual communication and clarity on roles, responsibilities, and flow of information. The last thing you want is a frontline manager who “goes rogue” and stops communicating with the rest of the team or creates their own process instead of working as a part of a team.
3. Secure the Building, Secure Your Network
Solid crisis plans should include a range of contingencies, including how to safely secure and exit the building in cases of physical emergency, as well as a comprehensive plan for managing your online presence in the face of crisis. Frontline managers should be prepared to execute plans to triage and secure physical assets, and also clearly delegate management of online platforms.
Using a crisis communications consultant from a crisis agency, or simply a trained member of your own internal team is key when it comes to managing social media during a crisis. Consider coming up with a set of prepared posts or Tweets depending on what your company is facing to keep your customers and community safe and informed to save time and ensure your message is clear and even-headed.
4. Support Your Team…and Yourself
In the immediate aftermath of a crisis, frontline managers should be prepared to address the most pressing needs of their team, including connecting them to basic supports like food, water, first aid, and/or emergency shelter. Immediate needs may also include grief counseling or other therapeutic supports, depending on the severity of the crisis.
No matter how small or large the crisis however, managers should be sure to check in with employees once the emergency has been resolved to ensure they feel safe and secure. The best frontline managers will also take care of themselves, too. Consider the metaphor of the oxygen mask on an airplane; your frontline managers must secure their own safety quickly and efficiently in order to better help others.
A strong crisis plan should also include time a few weeks after the emergency for reflection and feedback through a strongly defined after-action process, so frontline managers can continue to refine the crisis plan and figure out the best emergency procedures for your company.
5. Prepare, Prevent, and Practice
If crisis remains a distant, almost unthinkable possibility, then it’s more than likely that your manager will struggle to respond well. Work with your management team to develop emergency plans for a range of scenarios. Form a collaborative team to identify vulnerabilities, including leaders from IT, HR, Sales, and other key departments, to bring together a range of perspectives on how to best prepare for, and prevent, a crisis incident.
Once you have plans in place, ensure management has time to practice their response and train employees in your company’s emergency procedures.
When you prepare your frontline managers for a crisis, you prepare your company for success, even when the unexpected hits.
Can we help you?
Bryghtpath has built the crisis plans for many Fortune 500 organizations, non-profits, and public sector agencies. Our firm has more than a century of experience in developing actionable plans to help prepare organizations for the unexpected. Learn more about our approach to Crisis Management in our Ultimate Guide to Crisis Management.
Our expertise includes crisis communications and emergency procedures, and we’d love to help empower your management to handle crisis safely and with expertise.
Contact us today at +1.612.235.6435 or via our contact form.