In the event of a crisis, your team members will need to be able to quickly and efficiently take action.
However, many organizations do not prepare their employees for this eventuality. Monthly short training sessions can help support a crisis teams ability to remain prepared for crisis scenarios. In this blog post we’ll discuss why it’s important that you train your team on how they should handle various crises, as well as what tools are available to help them be successful in handling any situation that arises.
Assess Current Crisis Management Capabilities
The first step in training your team is to assess what capabilities they currently have. If you don’t know where you stand, it will be difficult for you to determine how much support and guidance that each member needs during a time of crisis. Review the policies and procedures that are already in place regarding crises, as well as any education or awareness campaigns that have been conducted. You should also review the various tools and resources available to your team members, as well as how they can access them in a time of emergency. Once you have a better understanding of the requirements you can start planning the training program.
Do Members of Your Crisis Management Team Understand Their Roles?
Training crisis management team members on their roles and responsibilities is paramount. For example, who’s responsible for managing the various stakeholders such as regulators, customers, vendors and law enforcement agencies? It may be useful to map out what other departments are involved in each task so that everyone understands how they fit into the overall picture. What does your Crisis Management Plan say? Are roles and responsibilities clearly defined?
The whole organization may be impacted in some way during an emergency, but there needs to be one central group (The Crisis Management Team) that can organize and coordinate different groups if necessary.
The training for this team should focus on how they would coordinate and communicate during an emergency. Not everyone in the organization is trained to respond during a crisis, so it’s important that those who are part of your Crisis Management Team have solid training. They should know how to communicate within the team, with other teams if necessary, and externally.
The training needs to reflect all of these components so that everyone is on the same page when an emergency occurs. And whether or not people are trained for emergencies doesn’t matter because they need to understand what their role may be during a crisis even if they aren’t specifically responsible for it day-to-day. The Crisis Management Team’s goal will always be to reduce impact by supporting the emergency response in order to keep operations running as smoothly as possible in any situation.
Here’s just a few examples of key training topics that should be covered:
- Activation of the CMT (who, when, how)
- Coordination with stakeholders (who’s responsible for what groups?)
- Communication with stakeholders (messages to the various groups)
- How will you document the incident? (technology, tools and resources are vital)
- Briefing cycle process and discipline
Other topics are dependent on your crisis management plan, team and strategy.
Short 30 to 60 Minute Training Sessions
In addition to longer formal training that should take place at least annually, the CMT should carry out monthly shorter awareness type training in order to maintain and improve on their crisis readiness posture.
These shorter training sessions may be added to the schedule when time allows. For example, if quarterly crisis management exercises are held, then an awareness session on how to prepare for and participate in these types of events can be included in the training agenda.
The key is that by keeping everyone involved with some type of regular awareness or readiness activity, it will help ensure that all team members continue their preparedness efforts even during periods between major formal activities. Try different approaches including gamification. Make sure you benchmark different approaches to see which produce the better results.
It’s also important not to forget about any new leaders joining the team who need to gain a full understanding of what the Crisis Management Team and plan is all about in addition to learning what they can do within their own role in order contribute toward ensuring you have minimized risk exposure related to disruptive incidents impacting the business.
It’s a good idea to record all sessions and make them available to those who can’t attend. Having access to previously recorded sessions 24/7 will allow for flexible learning. Making some of the sessions mandatory attendance is also recommended.
Validate The Training Through Simulation Exercises
Once you’ve trained the Crisis Management Team on their roles, it’s important for you to focus on getting everyone up-to-speed so they know where they stand and what is expected of them during different scenarios. There are many different kinds of training exercises that you can conduct with your team, ranging from tabletops to functional and full-scale simulated exercises as well as live drills. In a tabletop exercise, representatives from various departments within the organization come together in a room (and/or virtually) to discuss how they would respond during a crisis scenario. This type of drill allows everyone involved to share their perspectives and come up with a unified strategy. Ultimately plans get refined and capabilities improve upon completion of the tabletop exercise.
Training is a vital component of the overall crisis management program. It’s imperative that all team members and their backups get regular training on their roles and responsibilities. In addition, it provides an opportunity to test procedures, technology and equipment under simulated circumstances, which can uncover potential problems before they arise during actual operations or incidents.
Are you interested in receiving crisis management training? See what courses are available and also ask one of our trainers about the other training and crisis management program services we can provide.