Debriefing After a Crisis

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When the pandemic started, many of the affected companies decided to either make things up as time progressed or dust off their old crisis communications plan. That meant while some companies were frustrated because they had no detailed plan to follow, others were faring quite well. However, there’s an essential step that companies need to take whenever a crisis happens – debrief. With a debrief after a crisis, companies can ensure that they’re capable and prepared to navigate any future crisis. Debriefs can also help prevent such situations from happening. While there’s no way for companies to know when a crisis is going to happen, it’s important to debrief after each one, in order to be prepared.

Crisis Communication Plan

The first step in debriefing during a crisis situation is to turn to the latest edition of a company’s crisis communication plan. Companies that don’t have a crisis communications plan should create a short cheat sheet in order to be prepared for any future crisis situation.

Plan Performance

Whether a company has a crisis communications plan or not, it’s important to evaluate the performance of everyone that was trying to get a handle on a given crisis. Anything that went well should be noted and highlighted, because that shows the company’s strength in handling a crisis situation, while it can also improve company morale. A lot of people can feel quite drained or stressed after a crisis, so when someone points out the things they did well, people’s moods might improve.


It’s likely that after a crisis, there will be a few things that the company could have done better. Possible improvements might include involving more people in the decision-making process, improving the tone of communication, or making more timely statements or actions. To figure out what needs to be improved on, companies can survey their employees to get feedback on how the crisis was handled, and then update the crisis communication plan with the information that was provided by employees.

Audience Needs

During a crisis, companies should always be addressing the things the audience needs to hear when making statements. If that’s not the case for a company after a crisis, it should be. Some businesses also end up receiving feedback from third parties or other clients about how they’ve handled a crisis, which can help improve the crisis communication plan for future situations.

While most companies tend to avoid the debrief step that follows a crisis situation, it’s the best way to prevent future crises from happening or mitigating them when they do occur. In fact, debriefing twice, right after a crisis has ended and again a few weeks later (for a more detailed discussion), can help companies create very strong crisis communications plans and avoid reputational damage.

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