Is your Crisis Communication plan ready for 2020? Here's a 6-question reality check

CIOL Bureau
New Update
Crisis Communication plan

I’m sure that your company has an effective crisis communication plan in place. But what about the systems used to execute these plans? They are often obsolete and ineffective.


Let’s talk about your Internal Communication systems. Can they handle challenges like the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)? Let’s find out.

Here are some capabilities that every Crisis Communication team needs today. Let’s see how many you’ve got. Give yourself one point for each time you answer “Yes”.

1) Is your leadership’s “voice” part of the Crisis Comms plan?


Your colleagues are looking for communication and instructions from someone they trust. They do not want a long, super-formal email written by a junior corporate communications employee on behalf of the CEO.

They hate everything about these emails: the boring template, verbose narrative and bloated vocabulary, and that hard-to-read 8 point font. Instead, what they want is to see and hear your CEO deliver the message.

Here is an excellent opportunity for you to use video — it’s real, authentic, and powerful. Not only do you make your leaders look good, but you also make colleagues take your communication far more seriously.


Make sure the video is an unscripted one — no reading from pages — just a message from the heart. Your colleagues will absorb every single word, and your CEO will love you for it.

2) Can you manage 2-way communication at scale?

It’s really important to be able to respond to external and internal stakeholders in real-time.


But chats and emails won’t cut it when you’re dealing with hundreds/thousands of colleagues. You’ll need to use features that can help handle 2-way communications at scale.

You need to be able to make posts, garner comments, run polls and hold surveys. And you’ll be able to filter responses into different buckets for easy case assignment.

How can you accomplish this? With a robust Corp Comms mobile app that is noise-free and reserved for critical situations.


Here’s a free winning idea: You can give the app a special and unique notification tone, one that users will hear only a few times a year during an important announcement. So when a message is sent and the notification is heard, it signals a profound moment.

3) Do you have a robust mechanism to reach customers and suppliers?

Your external stakeholders do not want to find out via an email. They also do not want to hear about it on NDTV or CNN. They want to hear it from you, which is why you need a dedicated Comms app to send out critical updates to external stakeholders. To them, it will be more than just an app — it will serve as a secure, reliable channel of communication between your organisation and theirs.


4) Do you have automation in place to remind the right people to take the right actions?

You’ve spent a lot of time on building a crisis comms plan for the entire org. Good job! Next, you need to implement an automation framework to ensure that people stick to the plan.

You can use automation to remind the right people to take the right actions. You can also setup auto-escalation triggers to ensure that critical tasks are done on time.


What if employees forget to do something because of panic or if they forgot to read the plan? Automation ensures that users execute the grand plan that you set for them.

5) Is your knowledge base easy to access on mobile?

During a crisis, employees often need to access critical information: protocols, essential documents, user databases, and contact information.

Sure, you’ve already got this knowledge base — but is it hidden in some dark corner of your office intranet? This makes it inconvenient to reach during an emergency.

You need to make sure that your knowledge base has three key features:

Vinay Agrrawal, Founder, Hubbler Vinay Agrrawal, Founder, Hubbler

• Incredibly smooth and easy access over mobile

• Access controls to easily grant the right people access to the right data

• An intuitive interface that makes editing this knowledge base a simple affair

6) Do you have a fallback mechanism in case data connectivity fails?

Data connectivity and voice calls are one of the first things that fail during a crisis since usage volumes shoot through the roof. But do you know what doesn’t fail because of SMS — which has proven time and again to be an incredibly reliable mechanism during testing times. You need to have a system that lets you send and receive SMS messages at scale. This makes it easy for you to send information, run surveys and serve employees in need.

So what did you score?

If you scored less than four (out of 6), then you need better systems. I encourage you to work with your CTO or IT teams to get started on this as soon as possible.