By Cathy Dew
Unless you are in the business of crisis management (think first responders and hospitals) or work in a potentially volatile field (think transportation providers or pharmaceutical companies), it’s unlikely that communicating during times of crisis was top of mind when designing your employee intranet.
Instead, you put your focus on areas where your company lives and breathes day in and day out. You labored over how to create and executed a masterful intranet roadmap that encourages employee engagement. You built a bridge between leadership and the company, and now have a web-based tool that offers a one-stop shop for information, collaboration, and training.
Your intranet is a vital communications tool. So doesn’t it make sense that it is also your most important tool for emergency management?
Your intranet is your first line of defense.
Emergencies can arise as the result of public safety events (like volcanic eruptions or wildfires, etc.), security events (both negative ones like terrorist threats and seemingly positive ones like a downtown Super Bowl victory celebration), public health events (e.g., influenza outbreaks or Zika virus mosquito control efforts), and even company public relations crises (e.g., your company’s new product is under a safety recall).
Regardless of the reason behind the crisis, your intranet is your best line of defense in keeping management’s message clear on how to keep both employees and company safe.
Crisis management begins at home (pages).
Managing your intranet’s home news page is the most logical place to go as soon as a crisis rears its head. Depending on what is happening, the home page is where you can:
- Alert employees to information as soon as it is received,
- Direct employees to hotline numbers and emergency management websites,
- Provide a message from supervisors regarding how to proceed and who to contact for updated information, and
- Stave off the rumor mill so employees hear any news affecting the company first from management, rather than outside reports.
Actually, crisis management begins before the crisis occurs.
While not every emergency situation can be anticipated, some certainly can and should. If your company has offices in the tropics you already should have a pretty sound hurricane preparedness plan and protocols in place. The same is true is you are in an earthquake zone or you work in a sensitive industry where data breaches are possible or where armed attacks could take place. Your intranet is the perfect vehicle for preparing your organization for potential disaster, and for providing a mechanism to mitigate harm.
Some tips for leveraging this valuable emergency management resource include:
- Make sure your intranet training includes familiarizing employees where emergency procedures are archived.
- Publish incident reporting forms and help tickets on your intranet and provide steps to escalate reports to management.
- Link up to real-time information alerts about weather, traffic, public transportation service disruptions, and other government information.
Keep your content clear and simple.
Regardless of the nature of the emergency, your intranet can offer a rallying point for employees to come together in times of crisis. It’s important, however, that you keep your messaging concise and relevant, your instructions clear and direct, and your tone calm and confident. Go online to schedule a free consultation with our team or call 510-652-7700 today.