Make Sure Your Crisis Response is a Team Effort
By Beki Winchel
Nebraska Medicine’s communications director shares why effective crisis messaging involves employees across your organization—and how you can prepare for action.
Whether you’re responding to a deadly disease or a consumer fallout, teamwork is crucial.
Nebraska Medicine’s Biocontainment Unit is one of three facilities in the United States equipped to handle a crisis involving highly contagious and deadly outbreaks, so when chosen to care for U.S. citizens evacuated from Africa and carrying the Ebola virus, the team put their plans and crisis drills into action.
“You cannot simultaneously prepare for and react to a crisis or disaster,” says Paul Baltes, the hospital’s director of communications.
Nebraska Medicine’s preparation was a team effort, requiring Baltes and his team to streamline their communications through a single point of contact—the hospital’s “PR pilot”—with the hospital’s executives, physicians, media relations team and more relaying key messages tailored to the audience (both internal and external):
You can organize these communications and assign members of your teams to their specific roles within your crisis strategy with a breakdown of individual tasks. Baltes and his team created a table that included the audience, timing of the message, message format and delivery, and the Nebraska Medicine employee responsible for it: