A few tips from Clare Rodway, Managing Director of Kysen PR on managing your company’s reputation during a workplace crisis.
- Preparation is key. Wherever you can, plan your response in advance, decide your position and secure senior management sign-off for official statements etc., while you can do this in a calm pressure-free environment and when you know the required senior individuals will be around to give the matter proper thought and attention.
- As you prepare spokespeople and statements, approach the task by identifying “anticipated stakeholder questions”, and working out best answers. The resulting “Q&A” is not necessarily something to be handed to enquirers, but ‘sits behind’ all the communication you do decide to put out. This way you can address your target audiences’ concerns before they are raised, so heading off further awkward questions and avoiding a negative story dragging on.
- Similarly, have a pre-prepared protocol for handling media enquiries and make sure everyone at the company knows the procedure. Journalists have a way of avoiding the designated spokesperson and seeking information instead from someone less likely just to trot out the official line. The protocol should state who is to handle any enquiries and include an out-of-hours telephone tree for making sure anyone who needs to be involved can be reached.
- Think carefully about the channels for your communication. It may be that Twitter comment needs to be dealt with before you worry about traditional media. Indeed this may be how press journalists get to hear about your issue!