One of the key takeaways from everything we’ve faced during the past two years – a global pandemic, civil unrest, supply chain disruption, labor shortages and more – is that global crises can quickly have a profound impact at home.
There’s no denying the impact of all that’s unfolding in Ukraine. akhia stands in support of those who are affected by these devastating events, including our clients who have family, friends, colleagues or partners in the region.
As communicators, preparing for how the crisis could impact our employees and our businesses is essential. Ensuring crisis communication and rapid-response plans are ready to activate can position our organizations for whatever the coming days and weeks may hold.
To help you prepare, akhia has assembled these near-term considerations for communicators.
- Employee Welfare. No doubt your organization has already been in communication with and support of any employees or partners in locations directly impacted by the crisis. The rest of your employees may be concerned about co-workers and would benefit from communication about employee welfare and how the organization is supporting those impacted.
- Employee Assistance. Even if your employees are not based in locations directly impacted by the crisis, they may have family or friends who are. Or they may be part of military families awaiting news about whether loved ones will be deployed. Communication about any enhanced support or well-being resources or additional Employee Assistance Program opportunities may be relevant for your organization.
- Cybersecurity Threats. U.S. officials have warned of potential Russian cyberattacks on both the public and private sectors. They’ve called on businesses to take a “shields up” approach to minimizing vulnerabilities. Preparing for how your organization will communicate in the event of a breach can ensure you don’t lose precious time planning your response.
- Cybersecurity Protocols. Given the heightened cyber threat to U.S. businesses, it’s a good time to communicate with your workforce – and any partners with access – about your data security policies. Reinforcing training and sharing tips about how to recognize and report things like suspected malware can help minimize vulnerabilities for your business.
- Events, Shows and Conferences. Many organizations have started to ramp up participation in international events, shows and conferences. With the potential for the crisis to impact travel security and even the availability of transport, contingency strategies will be a critical element in any event plan. Many of the learnings from the pandemic—the importance of robust travel and event insurance, adaptability when events are rescheduled, the flexibility to transition to virtual engagements, sensitivity to registrants’ travel concerns—can be leveraged to enable your team to navigate the uncertainty of the days and weeks ahead.
- Social Media. Global crises often accelerate digital conversations, online mobilization of the business community and the exchange of misinformation. Communication with your workforce to refresh social media policies can help reinforce expectations for employee online conduct. We also advise keeping a close eye on the landscape and social media trends to ensure your content is sensitive to current dynamics and that you’re aware of any planned brand outages. Increased vigilance in social media listening/monitoring can ensure you identify any potential issues – and have the opportunity to take action – in real time. Leverage your social media escalation policies or existing crisis protocols you have in place to assist your team through these efforts.
- Supply Chain. Experts are predicting the crisis will have an impact on an already-fragile global supply chain. Preparing for related communication to customers – about expected product delays, shipping challenges, temporary surcharges for expenses like fuel, etc. – can enable you to mobilize quickly and get out ahead of customer questions or concerns.
- Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) Initiatives. Today’s business community often stands in support of populations or geographies impacted by global crises. If your organization plans to take a position, provide support or aid, or mobilize resources related to the Ukraine crisis, communication will likely be a critical component in how you take action.
Please rely on akhia as a resource for any counsel you may need as you navigate how this emerging crisis may impact your organization. We stand with you.