How to Successfully Manage a Crisis


If the past year has taught a business owner anything, it’s that managing a crisis efficiently is paramount in the longevity of a company. The pandemic has tested every business in nearly every aspect of their operation, whether it be accommodating flexible schedule requests of in-house staff or trying to stem the flow of revenue loss. It has forced managers to exercise every creative muscle they have.

Therefore, it’s brought to light that there may be no skill more critical in a manager than knowing how to deal with a crisis. This week we’re discussing the steps a business owner should take in order to prepare and execute emergency response plans to see their staff and production survive the inevitable bumps in the road. You likely have your own tips to share, we would love to hear them in the comments!

Preparing for a crisis

  1. Anticipate. Consider this the most important step one could take in order to successfully survive a crisis. Do not let calm waters catch you unprepared. It’s likely that by taking a quick look to the past, you’ll have examples of both dilemmas and responses that have affected your company. Use the lessons learned to prepare a plan for addressing potential financial and staffing upheavals.
  2. Test you plan(s). While you may feel a plan is rock solid, you’ll never really know until an actual crisis rolls around to test it. But you can perform a mock crisis to give plans a test drive in order to determine effectiveness and discover weaknesses. It’s not fool-proof but it’s a smart practice in successful preparation.


Responding to a crisis

  1. Don’t panic. Panic makes for bad decision-making. Stay calm, review plans and then implement them. You can also outsource for help but choose wisely. You know your company and staff better than anyone and while outsourced help can be incredibly valuable, make sure you’re 100% certain any course of action suits the company’s culture.
  2. Communicate, then communicate some more. Hopefully you’ve been able to identify a strong leadership team that will serve to relay the need-to-knows to your staff and answers any questions. Remember, a crisis is not a time to be secretive with employees but rather an opportunity to keep them in-the-loop on how the company will respond to rapid change(s) and work collaboratively to address staff needs. Your communication team is an excellent opportunity to strengthen company culture and reputation.


When the dust settles

  1. We know we learn from our mistakes and there is often one or two to be found in even the best-made plan. It sounds exhausting but a great time to start preparing for the next crisis is as the last one ends, when the information is fresh in everyone’s mind. And don’t rely solely on your own experience, create an outreach campaign to get feedback from all departments and then use this information to start a new response plan! Crisis are an opportunity for learning and for growth, use the experience to your advantage!


As we mentioned earlier, we know one thing is true: Successfully responding to a crisis takes a strong plan and a strong team to executive it. Here is where an experienced HR team like Eos HR can help. We make sure small businesses have the tools they need to navigate any rough waters that may arise. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.

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