Keep employees on board throughout a crisis to keep your reputation buoyant

Communicating with staff is essential to weather the storm
By Leslie Hetherington
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/25/2005

Traditionally, many PR practitioners and communicators advised clients to manage the range and scope of communications in a crisis, as much as possible.

“However, in the 24/7 borderless world of the Internet, wireless communications and now photo phones, containment is not only impossible but also dangerous,” says Bart Mindszenthy, partner with Mindszenthy & Roberts, a Toronto-based consultancy founded on crisis and issues management. “The challenge is to rapidly develop and relay responsible messaging to all key stakeholders, especially employees.”

Regina-based Warren Bickford, chair of the International Association of Business Communicators, concurs. “During a crisis, when public inquiry intensifies and is magnified by the web, you need to keep employees informed to minimize panic, distrust and rumors,” says Bickford. “It’s also imperative that an organization use its employees as ambassadors and leverage their expertise to sustain its reputation.”