A crisis plan as your handbook for the next disruptive event

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Jens Greiner ist Director, Forensic Services bei PwC Deutschland

Jens Greiner
Director, Forensic Services at PwC Germany
Tel.: +49 69 9585-5831

Being prepared when a crisis strikes

95 percent of the participants in our Global Crisis Survey from 2019 saw a crisis approaching – however, in our 2021 survey of almost 3,000 organisations globally, only 56 percent had an appropriate plan to prepare for it. 

The subject of crises is not pleasant – nevertheless, we should have understood by now that it affects us all, each company in its own way. The heart of a successful crisis management program is the crisis plan, for which we are delighted to support you with our expertise. This includes: 

  • Identification of crisis triggers in scenarios that are classified as crises
  • A clearly defined triage and escalation processes
  • Decision rights
  • The determination of crisis actors as well as the formulation of expectations of these persons and their collaboration 
  • Crisis communication guidelines

Why do organisations need a crisis response plan?

How crisis-proof is your organisation?

A company crisis has many faces: From technical disruption that halts production through attacks by hackers, natural disasters to political events, no organisation is immune to disruptive events. We know that the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on business for over 70 percent of the companies surveyed by PwC in 2021.

By now it should be clear that we need to remove the taboo around crises and literally critically question our own status quo. Recognising this is the first step towards an effective crisis plan.

What is the crisis plan all about?

We develop your crisis plan together with you and it will provide you with guidance when an unplanned event strikes. The plan shall contain concrete guidance and steps for minimising disruptive impact as a result of a crisis and responding in a targeted manner. The plan will be orientated towards crisis scenarios that are relevant in the context for your organisation, as well as the defined goals that your crisis management follows so that your organisation can emerge stronger. 

Goals and responsibilities

Goals for your organisations could be multifaceted. A few examples include, ensuring security of jobs, maintaining production of key products or services, or ensuring a required minimum level of liquidity. When it comes to the IT world, examples of goals could be maintenance of security of key IT infrastructure and data protection, which is critically important in the event of increasingly common cyberattacks.

Whatever your goals are, we will develop with you an appropriate crisis plan that establishes the following elements across relevant crisis scenarios:

  • Identification of crisis triggers in scenarios that are classified as crises
  • A clearly defined triage and escalation process of the required measures and processes in order to achieve the crisis management goals 
  • A governance model and decision rights
  • The determination of crisis actors as well as the formulation of expectations of these persons and their collaboration 
  • Crisis communication guidelines

What advantages does a crisis plan bring to your organisation?

Structured action

There is no time to be wasted in times of crisis! If there is no planning in place, crises rapidly give rise to chaos and a state of shock. In contrast, a functioning crisis plan enables you to take action immediately and in a structured way. All actors in the organisation know what needs to be done in a state of emergency. A crisis management team springs into action straight away and implements clearly defined measures to minimise the disruptive impact. Our crisis experts will work with you to develop tailored crisis-agnostic tactical guidelines as part of a crisis plan for activation in a crisis situation.

Obtain clarity

Developing your crisis plan will provide you with the clarity and consistency that you need in a state of shock. All members of the crisis management team know the processes that must kick in order to respond to a crisis immediately and effectively. Responsibilities are clarified and right tools are activated, thereby allowing immediate actions to be taken.

Build resilience

Disruptive events are unavoidable. The better you are prepared for a crisis, the less it will minimise interruptions on business and your stakeholders. Organisations that overcome a crisis and even emerge stronger from it exhibit a large degree of resilience. By developing a crisis plan you will build your operational resilience even during peacetime. You should also continually strengthen your resilience through training and simulations across relevant crisis scenarios.

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Sustain trust

A plan for emergencies provides confidence and comfort to the entire organisation. Even just by tackling the subject of crisis management, your leadership and management demonstrate their commitment to confront challenges. In order to effectively bring colleagues on board, crisis communication is critical to effective crisis management. In conjunction with a fully developed crisis plan, by providing open and relevant communication you will build and sustain trust that will have a long lasting positive impact on your daily operations.

How PwC can support you in developing your crisis plan

Our experts in the area of crisis management have extensive experience in preparing for, responding to, and overcoming crises and have been working side by side with our clients for many years – both during acute crises and for crisis prevention. 

Working side-by-side with our team to craft your response plan, your organisation will be prepared to mobilise, stabilise and strategise – and emerge stronger.

Crisis plan as an opportunity

Every crisis is an opportunity: an opportunity to learn and transform. A crisis plan brings value not only in a crisis situation, but also provides an opportunity for organisations to seize potential for improvement that can have a positive impact on the entire organisation long before a disruptive event strikes.

“Peacetime” is the ideal time to prepare for a crisis.

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Jens Greiner

Jens Greiner

Director, Forensic Services, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 175 3532089