When things get serious: A messenger for internal crisis communication
Crisis and emergency situations require quick reactions, clear information and concrete instructions. In this way, companies can not only reduce their employees' uncertainties, but also remain capable of taking action themselves. Read here how our messenger supports internal crisis communication and strengthens digital resilience.
Digital solutions that ensure internal communications in crisis and emergency situations in particular are more in demand than ever. This is the finding of the “Emergency & Crisis Communications Report” for 2022, published by the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) in collaboration with F24. One key finding: companies have become much more discerning when selecting a communications tool for internal crisis communications. As a result, they are looking for secure digital communications solutions that can operate during telephony and power outages and enable teams, departments or even entire organizations to collaborate during an emergency. Consequently, it is becoming increasingly relevant to protect both internal communications and the enterprise from cyber-attacks.
The demand for increased security is met either by platforms that focus on crisis management as a whole or by communication solutions that enable smooth emergency communication through specific features. Companies are also slowly but surely becoming aware of this and want to increase their investments in corresponding solutions. For example, free messengers such as WhatsApp & Co. are increasingly being avoided for internal crisis communication. But even with UC&C tools, such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, companies are increasingly coming up against compliance-related and functional limits. One major point of criticism is that they miss additional features that can be used to adapt internal crisis communication to their individual company requirements and processes. At the same time, the report makes clear that the mobile device is the preferred end device in emergencies and crisis situations.
Solutions for internal crisis communications strengthen digital resilience
According to the “Emergency & Crisis Communications Report,” companies that use a specialized solution for their internal crisis communications are not only significantly more crisis-resistant, but also exhibit greater digital resilience. What does that mean? Resilience means the ability of people, of societies, but also of enterprises to cope with external disruptions without their essential services being affected. Building on this, digital resilience means demonstrating a capacity for resistance and regeneration of systems and functions in the presence of complex and increasingly unpredictable risks in digital and information technology contexts. This means, on the one hand, that companies must become more resilient. On the other hand, it is important that they not only cope with emergencies but also learn from them, adapt future challenges, and improve and strengthen their operations – internal crisis communication.
Key aspects for internal crisis communication
Our mission at Teamwire is to enable companies and their employees to communicate quickly and smoothly at any time and any place – even in exceptional situations. In our view, the following aspects are indispensable for internal crisis communication: Speed, security and emergency features.
Why speed? In crisis and emergency situations, seconds can be crucial. The speed of communication is therefore an essential factor. For internal crisis communication, it is important to provide mobile devices and/or digital solutions, including suitable functions, even before a crisis situation arises.
Why security? In order to provide maximum protection for all stakeholders, primary security requirements are indispensable in crisis and emergency situations. These include maximum data security, the greatest possible data sovereignty, and zero-trust operations.
Why emergency features? Managing crisis and emergency situations requires a high level of logical understanding. The decisive factor here is to view events from a functional perspective. The easier it is to apply the solution for internal crisis communication, the faster all those affected can be informed.
Only if a digital solution addresses these three key aspects is it able to support internal crisis communication by enabling a smooth exchange of information before, during and after exceptional situations. This also includes informing employees, stakeholders, customers and – if necessary – the public about problems that have occurred, upcoming challenges and next steps. Such internal crisis communication also creates security within the workforce and increases the sense of belonging through appropriate transparency.
Internal crisis communication: Prepared for emergencies in three steps
In addition to the knowledge that internal crisis communication and digital solutions for crisis and emergency situations have gained new relevance, it is important for enterprises to be well prepared for emergencies. In doing so, we recommend a three-step approach that has proven successful:
Step 1: Establish a crisis and emergency communications plan
First and foremost, it is important to prepare a plan for internal crisis communication. Typical crisis and emergency situations include faulty production, employee accidents and strikes, and environmental catastrophes and scandals. The preparation of the crisis and emergency communication plan is usually the responsibility of the business continuity manager. It serves the purpose of,
- all those affected – from individual teams through the entire workforce to the entire organization
- regardless of their work situation, whether in the office, home office, on the road on the company site or mobile in the field
- to inform briefly and concisely at the same time about a crisis or emergency situation and to create an exchange opportunity
- and to keep any damage to the company as low as possible.
At the same time, a plan for internal crisis communication names people who will act as a crisis team in the event of an emergency. On the one hand, this plan specifies the internal processes that must be followed in such situations. On the other hand, it ensures that communication between employees and the company and vice versa is reliable. The plan therefore not only maps a process, but is also backed up with appropriate solutions that set the process in motion and guarantee that everything runs smoothly. It is advisable to test or review the emergency communication plan at least once a year. The Emergency & Crisis Communications Report advises that.
Step 2: Putting the theoretical basis into practice
Standard communication tools are perfectly appropriate for everyday corporate communication, but they are not designed for internal crisis communication. This is because – as explained at the beginning – UC&C tools, such as Microsoft Teams and Slack, do not offer any additional features for crisis and emergency situations. Even free messengers, such as WhatsApp, should be strictly avoided here. Just like UC&C tools, they do not have specialized emergency features. In addition, they can neither be controlled centrally nor are they based on the zero-trust security model. Building on this, companies should equip their employees with a digital solution for internal crisis communication that is
- easy and intuitive to use
- offers sophisticated additional functions for crisis and emergency situations, and
- and does not leave any security gaps, i.e. guarantees maximum data security and sovereignty.
We have always attached great importance to ensuring that our messenger meets precisely these requirements and are constantly developing it further.
Step 3: Determine a digital solution
The goal of a digital solution for internal crisis communication must always be to enable teams, departments, the entire workforce, individual locations or even the entire organizations to communicate in real time without restrictions during an emergency. Since the smartphone is the preferred end device in crisis and emergency situations, a messenger that is ideally suited for internal crisis communication with sophisticated features is recommended. These include
- Alerts to quickly warn of emergencies and receive feedback from those affected,
- Broadcasting, to notify those affected of a crisis and emergency situation,
- Attention messages to provide instructions for action in an emergency and describe next steps,
- Push-to-Talk, to provide more direct voice communication and be closer to those affected,
- Group chats, for example, to facilitate exchanges between members of the crisis team via predefined circles and lists.
A messenger of this kind is used for the best possible exchange and the fastest possible interaction – before, during and after an emergency. A good practical example of how Teamwire supports digital communication – even during critical operations and in emergency situations – is our long-standing customer the Bavarian Police. A messenger like Teamwire can thus be used both in daily internal communications and in crisis and emergency situations according to a predefined plan.
Conclusion: Be prepared for emergencies
Being prepared for an internal crisis communication is the key to remaining able to act in exceptional situations. In addition to a crisis and emergency communication plan, this requires a digital communication solution that ensures the flow of information at any time and any place and guarantees the protection of employees – in short: all-round support for internal crisis communication. The Teamwire business messenger is equipped for precisely these situations.
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Do you have questions about how you can specifically use Teamwire for your internal crisis communication? Then contact us and arrange a free consultation.