Are you ready to be ready?

7 May 2014

Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.netHave you got a plan for communicating with your staff, customers and other stakeholders when a natural disaster sends your business into a spin, a swamp or pile of ashes?

Perhaps you have a few sentences tacked onto your risk mitigation plan or in your quality assurance manual?

But that’s not being prepared.

You need a clear disaster management communications plan.

The Queensland Government’s Business and Industry portal offers some valuable tips for communicating after a natural disaster has struck.

Planning ahead will ensure your efforts to turn them into actions don’t add to the stress of sweeping out, mopping up, and rebuilding.

Planning is also critical to protect your brand reputation and customer loyalty for when you’re ready to transact again.

Your plan should address such factors as:

  • Who will you need to communicate with – before (if you know the natural disaster is imminent), immediately after and in the days following?
  • Where will you find their contact details – have you backed up your databases and stored copies elsewhere for easy access?
  • How will you communicate – can you access social media if your electrical connections and computers are destroyed?
  • Do you have spare phones and charges stored off site?
  • How will you manage responses to the communication you send out?
  • If customers want to help you in return for what you’ve done for them in the past, how will you manage the offers?
  • Who will be the spokesperson for any media enquiries and are they trained for it?
  • Do you have a contingency fund for outsourcing communication tasks, and someone you can engage at short notice?
  • Do you have a system for ensuring you always have the most up to date contact details for your staff?
  • Have you shared your disaster management plan with staff so they know how to respond appropriately to the situation, your customers, and your suppliers?
  • When you’ve considered the what-ifs in your general disaster management planning, have you drafted a few key phrases to explain how the business will function and meet stakeholders’ needs?
  • How will your emergency communications plan link with others – the local emergency services, local council, chamber of commerce, etc.?

Presence can help you develop a communications plan as part of your disaster management strategy, quality assurance or workplace health and safety protocols.

Are you ready?