Coping with Corporate Crisis
Does it seem that everyday people are honing their newfound expertise in crisis management?
It has become all too common for us to watch celebrities and politicians fall down into an abyss and stage a comeback from what we think is the point of no return. The positive part of this is that people watching from the outside can learn some strategies on how the fallen and their allies navigate through difficult waters, and come out on the other side to reinvent themselves, and recoup success moving forward.
The same holds true for directors and managers in business and HR. While they are constantly trying to have a finger on the pulse of their employees, we all know that a plethora of unexpected problems can rear their ugly heads out of nowhere. Whether employee lawsuits to layoffs, or lethal press and negative publicity, becoming beleaguered is inescapable during these periods. The key however, to steering clear of chaos during crises is to learn what works and what doesn’t to preserve as much stability in the workplace as possible.
Here are 4 ways HR and management can survive and thrive during a corporate crisis:
1) Honesty is the Best Policy
Sharing sensitive information between coworkers is not necessarily par for the course. However, when a corporate crisis is looming it is actually a good policy to be an open book. You cannot prevent the rumor mill from churning but you can be the gatekeeper of information, which during a time of unsettled tumult is requisite so you can maintain control.
First, divulge the problem or situation to your employees so that they can grasp its gravity. The most important thing though, at this stage, is to allay your employees’ concerns and express your commitment to their safety and well-being during the precarious period.
2) Evaluate and Continue to Communicate
While delving into the matter, it is integral for you to try to stay as impartial as possible. Doing this can ensure that your employees don’t start questioning your loyalty. As much as you would like them to remain loyal to you and the company at large during a crisis, they look to you to protect them.
Communication continues to be key during this critical time, and conveying a “business as usual” attitude is also pivotal to ensuring productivity. Also, make sure to follow up with those who are most affected by the crisis or situation and provide them with updates and finite answers when possible.
Relationships can become tenuous during these times, so it is of the utmost importance that you have your employees’ trust and are forthcoming with information that may directly affect them. While it is probable that HR will be called in for reinforcement, your primary responsibility is to your immediate employees, who want to feel that they can trust you instead of getting information passed down secondhand from the “powers-that-be” at the executive level, or even crisis counselors or consultants brought in who they may not even know.
3) Lead by Example
While it may be unavoidable for you to get pulled into emergency meetings or legal proceedings, you want things to remain as “normal” as possible and schedules largely unchanged. Having a worried demeanor can be detected by those around you, so you should retain as much composure as you can to put others at ease. The more you keep a level head, the more your employees are likely to, which translates into more work getting done and less time spent on gossiping about the issue. Leading by example increases your department’s chances of a productive work environment despite any uneasiness pervading it.
4) Manage Any Further Carnage
Again, being transparent and open with your employees is crucial to maintaining productivity, however you still have to be cognizant of what is OK to share and what is not. You will likely be receiving an inordinate amount of information in a short period of time from HR, or possibly some recommendations from corporate counsel.
It is important to use judgment regarding what information is for public consumption—in fact, you may want to run your method of delivery of the information through your public relations or corporate communications department beforehand. In a time of imbalance, you must respect boundaries regarding any confidential information or anything that could be risky if divulged.
While avoiding a crisis may not be possible, controlling the flow of information and the audience that receives it is your best bet in keeping things status quo. Managers are called that for a reason – they are supposed to manage their employees, but also manage expectations, workflow and productivity during times of success and also times of adversity.
LaborSoft’s innovative technology is one of many integral solutions that keep your business, in business. Our employee relations analytics, case management workflows, and our central repository of documentation streamlines case management to mitigate risk of operational bottlenecks, costly lawsuits, and legal ramifications stemming from HR issues and complaints. This sensitive data requires that maximum security protocols are in place and that your information is protected at all times.
Contact us for a customized demonstration and learn how LaborSoft can help you improve communications, build a more collaborative, safe, and supportive workplace, while reducing the likelihood of costly litigation.
Topics: Coping with Corporate Crisis