“Let’s hold a press conference.” “Let’s call in the board.” “Did anyone tell the suppliers?”
Those are the phrases from an all-hands-on-deck response to a crisis. What’s often missing is, “How do we tell the employees?”
Forgetting about employees is the dumbest thing you can do in a crisis.
Your employees are your best community ambassadors. They are the stakeholders with the biggest stake in your company. Who better to carry the message about the good your organization provides every day? Who better to remind the world why a crisis won’t derail your mission? And most of all, who will personally grieve over the impact on your organization’s reputation when a crisis hits?
This employee grieving process hit me hard during the latest crisis I handled. As the press camped outside my client’s office window, unfurling live satellite dishes like ominous balloons, we literally hunkered down behind the blinds. Phones rang at the front desk as employees did their best to soothe panicked customers. In the halls, those same employees struggled to deal with nervous customers who were troubled by the revelations on the morning newscasts.