The old adage: “prevention is better than cure” is frequently applied to incident and crisis management. In fact, it’s positively clichéd. But while its hackneyed usage has long-described the emergency planning market, in truth, it fails to tell the whole story.
While most would agree that avoiding disaster through preparedness and planning is better than managing the fallout, this fails to recognise that some incidents are inescapable, no matter the level of preparation. And for incident and crisis management to be truly effective, it needs to span the entire resilience lifecycle, as does the software that supports it.
The Incident and Crisis Management Resilience Lifecycle
In crisis management terms, resilience lifecycle refers to the stages involved when handling a crisis.
Comprised of three distinct phases – avoidance, survival, recovery – it provides a means of measuring your company’s performance value over time.
Figure 1 provides an example.
Figure 1: Vincent, Chapurlat & Nastov, Blazo & Daclin, Nicolas & BONY- DANDRIEUX, Aurelia & Tixier, Jerome & Kamissoko, Daouda & Bénaben, Frédérick. (2018). Towards a Model-Based Method for Resilient Critical Infrastructure Engineering: How to model Critical Infrastructures and evaluate their Resilience?
In essence, the resilience life-cycle demonstrates that organisations must have operations in place at each phase if they are to limit an incident’s fallout.
It’s therefore key that your incident and crisis management software provides support on an end-to-end basis.
Planning and preparedness is all about being ready to face the unexpected when disaster strikes. It’s the ability to know what to do and how to do it, so when faced with an alarming scenario, your teams are able to remain calm and follow the correct procedures.
Best-in-class incident and crisis management software should enable this by providing you the means to create a dedicated set of actions to follow – whether via action cards or well-structured contingency plans – as well as help you evaluate how well-prepared you are to handle a crisis through incident preparedness testing.
With this focus on planning, even in the event that disaster strikes, you can remain safe in the knowledge that everything has been done to limit the fallout to your workforce, your reputation, and your finances.
During a crisis, there’s simply no time to sit down and plan a response. Actions need to be taken immediately if you’re to limit the damage to your business, and being able to communicate the status of these actions quickly is essential.
For an incident and crisis management tool to be effective, it must facilitate the transfer of vital data at a speed the current hyper-connected world now demands, whether that’s to the workforce, the emergency services, or anywhere else.
Only with the ability to create information boards to better manage information flow, and a function for alerting and mobilising relevant internal and external parties, can organisations truly manage a crisis effectively. Without these tenets, communication fails and with it, the damage done to people, property, and the environment dramatically increases.
In most scenarios, the recovery phase will overlap with the survival phase to reduce further damage from occurring – independent of whether this is reputational, environmental, or economic.
In a purely reputational sense, controlling the narrative surrounding the crisis is the first step to keeping your businesses reputation intact. In fact, in the modern era, having robust procedures surrounding media and crisis communication is imperative.
The pressure exerted by the press in pursuit of access to the latest information can be overwhelming, but if your incident and crisis management software can provide a means to keep the media updated, as well as provide visibility and transparency of interaction, then you can control the situation, and protect yourself and your organisation from any public backlash.
However, your communication responsibilities don’t only rest with the media, they extend to employees, customers, and next of kin. To meet your duty of care obligations towards staff and the wider public, careful planning, the right tools, and staffing is crucial, but, perhaps most importantly, the ability to release the information quickly after the event to put minds at ease is vital.
End-to-End Incident and Crisis Management Software
At One Voice, we provide all of the services mentioned above – delivering a full-lifecycle incident and crisis management software solution. So, if you’re serious about effectively safeguarding your organisation in the event of an emergency, but don’t have the technology you need, talk to us today.