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On the necessity of crisis communications

Richard Stephenson

Today, we’re apt to thinking about concepts like crisis communications by conjuring up imagery of lengthy meetings about things like business continuity strategy. In other words, they’re quite abstract concepts that we don’t really relate to in any direct and tangible way – and why would we? Article by Richard Stephenson, CEO, YUDU, YUDU are a technology firm who specialize in crisis communication platforms. Their flagship product is YUDU Sentinel.

A better way of couching crisis communications in a way to make it immediately relatable to people is to view it as a modern extension of a concepts and processes that have always existed throughout history: Whether you’re talking about semaphore towers, the roman postal system or the telegraph network of the 19th century.

When put in this context, crisis communications (and indeed business continuity too) are less a case of management-speak gibberish, invented in an air-conditioned room in front of a whiteboard, and more simply a basic objective that has existed forever: How can I disseminate information about this event quickly and keep my people safe when something damaging in one form or another may be occurring?

It’s with basic premise in mind: Keeping people safe, that we developed our own crisis communications solution, called Sentinel. Sentinel was developed specifically in response to a client’s needs following a major incident, in this case the events of the Holborn/Kingsway Fire in 2015 and as such, it meets real and practical needs that this client (Farrer & Co) faced when a fire disabled their normal channels of both communication and document management.

Today, we’re able to do all sorts of elaborate things, from multi-casting to our employees using everything from SMS to in-app messaging and pinging across a request to establish where they are to providing staff with dependable document center fallbacks (in case servers or internet connectivity goes down). However, the principle remains the same as it did in antiquity: Quick dissemination of information and/or ensuring safety of the individual. In spite of all this development, the basic principle of ensuring ease of communication remains the same as it did thousands of years ago.

As HR professionals, you’re doubtless aware of how important the concepts of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and staff safety have become over the past few years. Moreover, you’re probably already familiar with your own company’s HR database software and how integral it is to your existing work.

The great advantage of modern crisis communications platforms is how neatly many of them fit into existing HR workflows, so adopting one may not be as time-consuming a process as you’d initially imagine. In doing so, you can augment the way your company’s Human Resources department ensures that its duty of care to employees is being met in a very visible and obvious way.

Firstly, by providing incident managers with an independent channel of communication if the worst happens, and secondly, by providing those responsible for business continuity with a way to store critical documents that isn’t connected to your own internal network, adding an extra failsafe.

Click here to download the YUDU White Paper ‘Crisis Communication in 2017 and how Social Media is changing crisis communication strategy and practice’.

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