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Corporate emergency communications best practices

AtHoc, Inc., has announced the findings from its State of Emergency Readiness Survey. The results show that businesses that place a high priority on communications during an emergency have much better outcomes.

The 2014 State of Emergency Readiness Survey polled IT personnel representing 200 enterprises in the United States.

According to 81 percent of survey respondents, crisis communication planning is ‘somewhat’ to ‘extremely’ important to the organization. Emphasizing this importance is the related finding that on average organizations have experienced two emergency incidents within the last three years. However, only 42 percent have actually completed a crisis communication plan.

Survey respondents said that crisis communication plans are complex to create and implement. On average, plans include 16 different employees who play a role during a crisis. Plans are also updated and distributed every four months. Furthermore, respondents indicated that it takes one to two hours to contact 80 percent of the key people involved in the plan.

AtHoc used respondents' communication practices to separate organizations into top- and bottom-tier companies. When survey responses were analyzed through this lens, the results indicated that top-tier businesses are 56 percent more likely to rate having a plan as extremely important. They are also 60 percent more likely to have a crisis communication plan in place, and 5.6 times more likely to store their plan in the cloud to improve access in the event of a network outage.

As a result of the best practices top-tier organizations follow, they are able to notify key personnel twice as fast in an emergency. They are also 55 percent more likely to resolve an emergency within an hour. In addition, they reported a reduced likelihood of suffering additional negative effects from an emergency, such as lost sales and fines due to regulatory noncompliance.

Because a crisis communication plan improves employee safety as well as company resilience in the event of an emergency, AtHoc recommends taking these steps to establishing and maintaining a plan:

  • Gather real-time feedback from employees in the emergency situation for situational awareness across the enterprise.
  • Maintain up-to-date contact information so employees can be contacted quickly through automated processes.
  • Utilize a communication system that allows employees to respond to notifications for accountability purposes.
  • Deploy a system that sends notifications through multiple channels including voice, text, desktop, digital signage and lights: anything to get employees' attention and interrupt their workflow.
  • Unify notification distribution through a single system to provide a consistent voice across channels and optimize response times.
  • Deploy a system with the ability to communication both internally and externally with affiliated organizations.

www.athoc.com

•Date: 12th December 2014 • US •Type: Article • Topic: Crisis communications


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