Communicate always and all ways!
August 15th, 2015 by Mary Kay Hyde-Bohn
Example of not wanting to have the conversation about Continuity or Disaster planning.
These 3 Buddha’s are sitting back, covering their eyes, mouth and ears. Just like an otherwise savvy business person … who does not want to have the critical conversation about Continuity or Disaster planning.
The last two months have been a flurry of webinars with similar themes – you have to communicate during a Crisis to your employees, your customers, vendors, suppliers and local/regional community! The right words and the right media for individual audiences or public/strangers will fill the void with inaccurate misinformation – in other words, info-trash that will ruin your business or your reputation!
The after-event internal reviews have consistently brought up communication omissions or shortfalls to all audiences. The clean-up work due to misinformation or false information may take months to correct.
To summarize the main points of the discussions/webinars (not in any order):
- Define your audiences (internal & external)
- Define the best method to reach each audience in times of crisis (may be different by audience)
- Have draft texts ready for use by audience, type and severity of event(s)
- Respect the gravity/severity of each event
- Create checklists for each phase of crisis & decide communication actions
- Create, train & exercise the team doing the Crisis Communicating; create team structure (authority or approval levels) and backups.
- Make sure Communication team has IT authority to update media formats (add & remove)
- Have plan for press/media conference room, if appropriate; all else is electronic if power is available.
- Inform and train the employees on where to receive and send information
- Communicate with Customers with media they normally use, if possible.
- Engage with Emergency Response Team for ‘go/no go’ decision; confirm with internal Crisis Management team for severity level to work with.
- Monitor other media outlets for information or misinformation
- Post only most current information; remove old/dated information
- Keep a running total of team time & effort
- Log any IT issues for immediate and deferred correction – don’t try to fix a minor problem in the ‘heat of moment’.
- Have a plan for power outage scenario.
- Forget the Communication checklist
- Use one message for every audience; tailor each message for each audience & delivery media
- Select only one media; use them all!
- Create new accounts during crisis (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
- Make the media only one way; give opportunity to send feedback
- Expect your company is the only one involved; share connections.
- Expect for power to be available at all times.
- Forget to keep a list of all messages sent, to what distribution list and what media.
The organizations that hosted these webinars have materials on their web sites for further reference:
FIRESTORM WEBINARS: http://www.firestorm.com/learn/form-download-brief-six-stages-of-crisis-for-communication-planning.html
Agility Recovery: http://www2.agilityrecovery.com/assets/slides/Agility-Social_Media.pdf
Vacation Preparedness at Work
July 7th, 2015 by Mary Kay Hyde-Bohn
Are you ready to leave work behind and relax during your vacation? The best insurance for that peace of mind is to prepare!
Schedule that time away as soon as you can; if the personal arrangements are fixed or flexible get on the company vacation schedule as soon as reasonable to get the schedule you would prefer. You will want to be considerate of others as you expect them to support your time away as you will have to support their vacation time.
- Some industries or companies have ‘natural’ time that is slow for business and that might be the time your company requires you to take your vacation time – learn what those dates are.
- here are school schedules to consider as your colleagues may have specific dates they can utilize if taking children on vacation. This is also tricky if a school district has a mix of traditional and year-round schools.
Whether your job is at a desk, in a vehicle, at a workbench or on the phone all day….
Your daily work processes need to be documented and your colleagues are aware of the document, if they are not trained to do your job.
The documentation needs to include:
- The steps of your job – flow charts or pictures of each step would be nice. How to document that the job is done or who to report ‘job complete’ is essential.
- Any project dates that your substitute needs to be aware of such as conference calls or completion percentage put in a database.
- Who your contacts or vendors are that help you get your job done – examples of when or why you would contact them would be helpful.
- Where you get your supplies or inventory – is there a checkout process, who needs to know you just grabbed the last of the items, how do you verify the supplies are of the best quality & who to advise if they are not best quality?
- Safety information: first aid kit, fire extinguisher, etc. That paper cut or staple hole will bleed all over the place if you don’t get a band aid on it quick!
- Who your immediate supervisor is and contact information.
- Who is also trained (or cross-trained) to do your job.
** There is always a debate about leaving your contact information ‘in case’ someone needs to get in touch; that might be a phone call or schedule to check your email. Be sure to know these cultural requirements before you plan your vacation and for your traveling companions to know as well & respect that element of the vacation. For example, being in an electronic dead zone for 5 days might not be helpful if you have a requirement to be ‘in touch’ every 48 hrs. **
When you return, be humble about your time away. Don’t bring in the 3 DVDs of the island time or your grandchildren’s music recitals. One or two pictures in your work area will either be sufficient or give cause for a follow on conversation, if someone is interested.
Then get back to work:
- find out what went right
- what did not
- And what the status is today
One organization I was with had a ‘vacation recap’ coffee session with treats provided by the person doing the report – that usually kept the monologue short and sweet! Then we did a reverse status update for the rested and relaxed colleague to jump right back into the work day.
AND then start planning for the next vacation!
Succession Planning – Part I
April 3rd, 2015 by Mary Kay Hyde-Bohn
What is Succession Planning – Part I
Succession planning is not just a term for ‘end of life’ planning.
It’s the planning of moving your employees through team leadership, management and into organizational leadership.
Let’s tackle the ‘end of life planning’, or rather the ‘end of the organizational relationship’ planning first. You or someone from your key leadership may leave – its life!
What to do and how to do the transition will be important to the stability inside the organization and to the public.
- Determine who the key owner/partners are – typically they have a partnership agreement – then ask them to get a current will written and to include mention of the organization.
- Have organization lawyer update the partnership agreements to include mention of will by name of individual (and lawyer’s name).
- Partnership agreement should also include mention of divorce, buyout, abandonment or going to work for a competitor.
- Everyone should have a backup that is cross-trained to handle daily tasks until the position is filled.
- Have Communication or Marketing team draft statements to have ready for several situations.
- Have the same team make a list of who to communicate this change and which media to use.
- The HR team should have a list of tasks that need to be done from records to email or social media accounts.
Stay tuned for Part II …