Policy & Planning
What would it feel like to learn that a serious incident affecting your organisation had just happened?
If your response seems to be slow, reluctant, penny-pinching, incompetent or hard-hearted it will only makes things worse. The anger and resentment caused by a bad response is known as Secondary Trauma. Secondary Trauma motivates litigation, loss of goodwill, boycotts and campaigns in social media.
Managers who have lived through an event like this remember how difficult it was to make important decisions during the initial shock. You need a Plan that provides clear direction on the first actions to take so that, instead of being paralysed by confusion and doubt your organisation can begin its response.
Does your organisation have an Incident Management Plan? The Plan might have a different name such as Crisis Response Policy or something similar.
What else should your Plan include?
As well as providing guidance on your first actions when responding to an incident other parts of your Plan might be:
- Guidance on what is and isn’t an incident. This should include reference to the importance of protecting the psychological welfare of colleagues, customers and relatives who might be affected
- Guidance on how your organisation should cope with the humanitarian, logistical, financial, commercial and public relations aspects of incident response whilst continuing with ‘business as usual’
- An explanation of which incident related management roles will be required; and who the candidates are to fill those roles
- What the training requirements are for the people expected to fill the roles in your incident response
- What authorities are delegated to your incident management team so they can act without unnecessary interruption or delay
If you already have a Plan – is it actively managed and reviewed? Or is it collecting dust on a shelf? Does someone have the clearly designated role of implementing your Plan? Do they have sufficient authority to get things done? Do they have sufficient budget at their disposal?
No Plan? How to get started
If you don’t have a satisfactory Plan there are a few basic questions that can help you decide what to do about it. Depending on your answers to those questions you might decide to access a free brief audit of your Incident Management Planning.