Crisis Management: Is your team prepared for the media?
By Donna Gray
Change and Media Specialist
An Alberta worker was completing daily roofing activities falls from a roof to his death. A driver unloading gravel and sand on a construction site, and while the gate wouldn’t open, he exits the cab. Suddenly, the truck deposits the contents on top of him, burying and killing him. Another worker, working in a two-to-three-metre trench finds himself fatally trapped when the trench collapses.
These three incidents of industry deaths across Alberta as of April 28, 2015 demonstrate that accidents can happen. Along with improved training, work checks and reporting, many companies will overlook how they will handle such a crisis in the public eye.
The shock and disappointment of each incident is not isolated to executives, staff and family. The community, industry leaders and media are also feeling the pain. They’re also eager to make up stories that fill the gap of silence, skirting and defensive behaviour by managers. As humans, we are quick to jump to judgement, even when the lack of exercising caution or training is the choice of the employee. The fault and responsibility still lie on the company in general terms, and reporters are trained to find the cracks that lie in your governance.
Crisis communications and planning doesn’t mean you’re covering up information, but instead, carefully and honestly providing what the public, your clients, shareholders, current and potential employees and other stakeholders need to know to keep them safe, secure and confident.
Media training for such incidents can empower teams to work hand in hand with safety managers, ensuring the communications is up to date, accurate and controlled. Again, it doesn’t hide the truth, but it organizes it as the aftermath unfolds. It also positions the company brand as being responsive and responsible.
For those who fear having to face this version of the public, reconsider understanding them instead. Once you realize their priority is to get to the truth and give your company the chance to take responsibility openly and with transparency, the public perception quickly changes to a more positive note, in most instances.
APlus Actions offers training and workshops that prepare your staff in the field and in head office before and after an incident. Contact us for a free consultation and overview of our customizable services to fit your needs.