Putting internal comms first in a crisis | S3 E19

First published: 27 September, 2022

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Engaging Internal Comms Series 3
Engaging Internal Comms Series 3
Putting internal comms first in a crisis | S3 E19

Putting internal comms first in a crisis

Internal Comms in a crisis – at some point, all organisations will have a crisis. Whether that’s an internal crisis, maybe a big lay off or redundancies, some major transformation such as closures of an office. Whether it’s an external crisis like a product recall or an accident. Whether there’s something happened that has caused problems for our customers or our clients.Maybe there’s been an issue with someone within our organisation who’s done something inappropriate and it has found its way into the media. All can be sources of crises and we often think that is why we employ a PR specialist or external comms to deal with these things .

But what we’re going to look at in this interview is that our primary focus should actually be our internal communications. While obviously we need to deal with the crisis, we need to mitigate it and we need to stop the crisis getting any worse, what we also need to do is let our employees know what is happening as soon as possible. The reason for that is that we can mobilise our employees to help us solve the crisis. It’s likely that they are going to be the people who are fielding many of the questions and concerns from customers and other stakeholders who want to know what is going on. Without that information, it’s very unlikely that they are going to be able to support and help our efforts.

So what we’re going to look at in this interview is the role of internal communications in dealing with a crisis – the importance of letting our people know what is happening, what we’re doing about it and how we’re going to resolve this crisis using their wisdom and expertise. They may be the people who deal with the front line issues, they may be the people who speak to customers on a regular basis and they may have some insights into what those people will be asking and what they are concerned about. This is the importance of putting internal comms first when we’re faced with a crisis situation.

If you’ve never had a crisis yet in your organisation or you’ve never been involved in a crisis, you will at some point. I’ve been involved in a number of them in my corporate life and I wish I’d known some of the things that we’re going to find out in today’s interview before I had to deal with those crises. So I hope you find this useful.

Guest profile:

Dave Oates is a Crisis PR expert with nearly 30 years of experience in the field. He helps organisations repair their brand’s reputation in the press and online. Dave can handle any Crisis PR situation and train others to do the same. As a U.S. Navy Public Affairs Officer and a corporate PR professional, he’s dealt with a broad range of Crisis PR issues. These include mass layoffs, large-scale accidents, product recall, inappropriate acts by executives, and more.

Useful links:

Related episode of the Engaging Internal Comms podcast: https://thebigpicturepeople.co.uk/blog/podcast/lessons-from-the-pandemic-s2-e27/

Dave’s LinkedIn Profile: linkedin.com/in/davidoates


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