Recovery After Crisis
Recovery after a crisis is the forgotten last step in crisis communications. Once an organization manages a crisis, it may try to quickly resume normal business operations, skipping the recovery stage completely. But managing a crisis successfully deserves a pat on the back; the recovery stage is needed. This stage is very important in restoring the organization’s reputation for the long term. It is important to move into this last phase of a crisis. The goal of the recovery phase is to move an organization from a crisis to resuming normal business operations while continuing to rebuild confidence and trust in the organization. During this phase, the organization learns from the experience.
Taking time to debrief after a crisis is vital.
As the last phase in managing a crisis, an organization can take some steps to close out the crisis situation. One of the first steps is to recognize the people who were involved in managing the crisis situation and its response. Those involved will appreciate the compliments. Recognizing people does a couple things. It helps them feel appreciated for their efforts, which in turn makes them more likely to interact positively in the future when another crisis happens. There will be another crisis, so it’s important to build those positive relationships with everyone. Also, saying thank you boosts the morale of the organization. People like to see their co-workers get recognition.
After staff have been recognized, the crisis response team needs to come together to review the crisis communications plan and assess its strengths and weaknesses. At this point, the team debriefs about the situation, going through the time line of events and actions taken. Throughout this process, the team asks what worked, what didn’t, and why. As with the SWOT analysis in the crisis plan development stage, team members need to be very honest and frank. No sugar coating.
The next step is to do a final check of the opinions that the key audiences and the general public continue to hold after the crisis and its aftermath. This will assist you in developing a recovery plan. Then you can move on to actually developing a recovery plan. A recovery plan needs to include three things: situational analysis, audience identification, and key messages.
The last stage of the recovery process is to determine the opportunities that might result from the crisis and then work to make them happen. Out of every crisis come opportunities for an organization to strengthen its reputation. While we still live in a world where outrage or the cause of a crisis is often still suppressed, a crisis provides an opportunity to make positive changes within the organization. A social media crisis gives an organization an opportunity to develop a more nimble structure in preparing for and then managing such a situation. It gives an organization permission to listen and actually hear what is being said before, during, and after a crisis. A crisis allows staff to rise to the occasion and show leadership on various levels.