Elearning! October-November

October-November 2013

Elearning! Magazine: Building Smarter Companies via Learning & Workplace Technologies.

Issue link: https://elmezine.epubxp.com/i/201066

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crisismanagement How to Respond to a Crisis Before even being faced with whatever might be termed a crisis, astute organizations should be prepared for all eventualities. Accenture, a management consulting company, recommends four basic business philosophies: >> Be prepared for unexpected failures. >> Ensure that crisis management operates across structures, functions and divisions, both vertical and horizontal. >> Recognize the crisis early, and take quick, decisive action. >> Communicate thoroughly, effectively and frequently with all audiences. The frst hours after a crisis occurs are the most important. Dr. W. Timothy Coombs, writing for the Institute for Public Relations, suggests a few initial best-practices: 1) Be quick and try to have initial response within the frst hour. 2) Be accurate by carefully checking all facts. 3) Be consistent by keeping spokespeople informed of crisis events and key message points. 4) Make public safety the number one priority. 5) Use all available communication channels including the Internet, intranet and mass notifcation systems. 6) Provide some expression of concern/sympathy for victims. 7) Remember to include employees in the initial response. 8) Be ready to provide stress and trauma counseling to victims of the crisis and their families, including employees. The Crisis Management and Disaster Recovery Unit goes even further, defning additional phases to effective crisis management that are longer-term and larger in scope: 9) Set up a business continuity project. 10) Review the different types of emergencies that can arise and assess their risks to various business processes within your organization. 11) Identify back-up and recovery strategies. 12) Develop procedures to be followed in the event of a crisis or disaster. 13) Develop detailed recovery procedures for the business. 14) Test the recovery procedures in semi-realistic emergency conditions. 15) Train all employees to assist the business recovery process. 16) Write a business continuity document, and keep it up to date, refecting all changes in business process and employee structure. 36 October / November 2013 Elearning! lost all of their wall furnishings like diplomas, autographed photos — even some car keys. But, thank goodness, no one was injured, and we didn't lose our main servers that housed the LMS, which were located in another building." The crisis at the DAU was totally unexpected, as fires usually are. Thankfully, they are not a common occurrence in the learning professional's world. But other types of crises that cause anything from a minor to a major disruption in service do arise. Among governmental organizations, cybersecurity is a major concern. Among companies in the public sector, it's not just having a system invaded by viruses and worms but also having the electronic equipment fail completely. And organizations in both the private and public sectors suffer from unexpected crises due to severe personnel management problems. Accenture, a management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, believes that technological change (widespread use of the Internet and mobile communications), rapid globalization, and interconnection among economies makes it more difcult for traditional risk- and crisis-management practices to keep up. It further believes that companies ofen fnd themselves preparing for and responding to the most recent crisis, while pushing into new businesses without establishing the necessary safeguards against failure. One of the things that definitely helps is to have a written procedure in place before a crisis arises. At DAU, written crisis-related programs and standard operating procedures existed that covered various crises such as fire prevention and evacuation procedures; continued operations plans for redundant LMS capabilities; disaster preparedness plans; and the emergency notification process — all of which cover a wide variety of possible prevention and response activities. THE FIRST STEPS A crisis can create three related threats: (1) public safety, (2) fnancial loss, and (3) reputation loss. "Efective crisis management handles the threats sequentially," notes Dr. Coombs. "Te primary concern in a crisis has to be public safety. A failure to address public

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