As an organisation, Duty of Care and traveller safety for your employees is paramount, but it still surprises me how many companies haven’t thought about what happens if one of their travellers is affected by a crisis. From a natural disaster, civil unrest or terrorist attack, external events can quickly happen without warning, and unfortunately, no one sends a memo giving us all time to prepare when an unforeseen crisis occurs. However, this is made so much easier if you already have a plan in place and a process to follow, so you know what to do if an incident or crisis occurs. In our latest blog, we give you 7 tips to help you create or update a crisis management plan for business travel, so your travellers know you’ve got their back when they’re travelling on business.
#1 – Involve all parties
Before you start creating a crisis management plan, you need to know what it needs to cover, and the only way to understand this is to consult with all parties involved. From travellers, their line managers, the HR department and the leadership team, different people within your business will have a different perspective on how a crisis will impact the business and its people. Using this insight to determine the purpose of your crisis management plan will make creating it much easier. It’s not just internal stakeholders though, include any partners you work with who are involved in the process of managing corporate travel such as your travel management company. While they’ll provide valuable advice and guidance as you put a crisis management plan together, it’s crucial your plan is integrated into their crisis management plan too as they'll have a prominent role in assisting any travellers affected by an incident or crisis while travelling.
#2 – Identify best and worst case scenarios
Your organisation needs to identify that they are prepared to handle not only the worst case scenario but also the best. In doing this, you are able to gauge people’s reactions in either situation as much as you possibly could, and demonstrating you are prepared brings with it a sense of engagement and loyalty if you know that your employer has everything in place to support you.
#3 – Identify your desired outcome.
What are your desired end goals when dealing with a crisis? It could be to ensure your business traveller returns home or at least away from the affected area and most importantly have regular communication with family and the business until the event has passed. By setting your end goal, it will help you to understand what is needed to be put into place - such as Traveller Tracking to obtain the end result.
#4 – Identifying resources and limitations
Knowing what resources you have at your disposal at the time of crises will ensure you have a greater understanding of what your actions will be and the same goes for personal limitations too. As an individual you will need to play to your own strengths too. Having a travel management company in place can be of great assistance in time of crisis, ensuring employees are tracked and practical support is available should plans need changing, taking some of the anxiety away to leave you to concentrate on the important things..
#5 – Identify roles.
Each individual needs to know not only the specific role they play within your crisis management plan but the expectation of the part they play too. This will help reduce errors and confusion but will also ensure there are fewer delay. When individuals are left to focus on what is required personally from from the start then the likelihood of the desired outcome being achieved is far greater.
#6 – Communication
Once you have your crisis management plan in place ensure you communicate it to everyone involved straight away and not just if a crisis occurs. Check all parties understand their role and what needs to happen in the time of an emergency. All should be left feeling confident leaving no stone unturned and no weak points within the plan.
#7 – Test and re-visit
You have your plan so test it! Brief your employees on what is expected whilst dry running scenarios, to obtain a greater feel of the outcome of the procedures put in place. You may need to change aspects of the plan but it’s better to find out of any changes prior to the real event occurring.
Practice makes perfect so re-visit as much as you can. The business may have changed, employees may have left or changed departments with a replacement in their previous position, meaning the details of your crisis management plan may have altered slightly. Make it part of any new employee’s induction and ensure you revisit the plan on a regular basis, make adjustments and re-communicate accordingly.
Unfortunately there is no crystal ball to determine when events like this will occur. Times of crisis will happen from time to time and are an unfortunate circumstance of the society and world we live in today. Hopefully the above points will help you to obtain a robust and detailed plan increasing the probability of a positive outcome. If you have any tips to building a solid Crisis Management Plan, we’d love to hear from you! please share your tips in the box below….