Times are tough for businesses large and small. Cost reduction is high on the business agenda and difficult decisions must be made as organisations look to square-up to rising economic challenges. In doing so, many are at risk of leaving themselves exposed. That’s why it’s more important than ever to maintain robust incident management plans. In this blog, we're going to help you create a strategy for success.

What does an incident management strategy do?

Your incident management strategy is a plan to address the events that could cause major disruption to your organisation. Events of this nature have a nasty habit of occurring when you least expect them, usually when time is of the essence and initial decisions must be made quickly.

These events have the capacity to inflict major damage on operations, finances, reputations or people's wellbeing.

Effective communication lies at the heart of the best incident management strategies. Clear, transparent communication addressing all stakeholders will present an organisation in the best possible light and deliver the best results.

The absence of a well-documented, well-rehearsed incident management plan is likely to result in people unintentionally making the wrong decisions. This can exacerbate an incident at a time when an organisation is under the greatest scrutiny.

What are the main business threats in 2023?

The nature of business incidents is also changing. Not too long ago they centred on operational failures, financial or leadership mismanagement, product quality issues, technological mishaps, or catastrophic human error.

While these still remain a threat, top of the danger list for many organisations is now cyber-attack or phishing schemes. Twenty per cent of businesses have been attacked with malware (malicious software) through social networking platforms.

Businesses also must create a plan for dealing with keyboard warriors. These can be major disruptors, particularly those who are as ill-informed as they are well-intended.

Creating an incident management strategy for success

It’s nigh-on impossible for an organisation to plan for all potential crises but there are ways to be prepared. The best plans will include detailed risk or exposure analysis, an activation protocol and clear lines of command and responsibilities. They will also include ongoing training.

There will also be systems to ensure that each key element of the communication plan is regularly reviewed and updated.

A command centre remains an integral part of incident management. The immediacy of an incident may mean that online conferencing may be required initially. The sooner the command centre, with all appropriate facilities, is up and running, the better.

Far too often, organisations facing a crisis give over-riding priority to external stakeholders and influencers, including media. Important though they are, so too are your colleagues who may be directly impacted by the crisis and who will also be influenced by what they glean from external sources.

At a time when financial constraints are putting some businesses at greater risk, effective incident planning will add resilience to your organisation.

The key is to prepare in advance and equip the incident management team with the requisite skills. Review and rehearse different scenarios and, if you do face a crisis, learn lessons from it so you’re better prepared for the next possible incident.

MTJ PR has more than 30 years’ experience in crisis and incident management communication, providing a round-the-clock service for client partners requiring specialist support and advice in this field. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.