Business Team Response After Crisis

What Is a Crisis Management Team?

crisis management team, also known as a CMT, incident management team, or corporate incident response team, prepares an organization to respond to potential emergencies. It also executes and coordinates the response in the event of an actual disaster. 

The crisis management team has a designated leader, and other team members are assigned particular responsibilities, such as planning or logistics. Together, this team has the authority to make decisions under dire circumstances.

Large organizations may need to designate a lead crisis management team and corresponding subteams (each with its own leader) that focus on specific work streams or geographies. Depending on the severity and type of crisis, you may not need to activate all roles in every crisis. 

Members of a crisis team are usually employees who hold other positions in the organization; often, team members are human resources managers, heads of departments, senior managers, public relations representatives, communications and marketing executives, key operational staff, and site managers. We discuss crisis management roles and responsibilities below.

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The Purpose of a Crisis Management Team

The crisis management team exists to help an organization minimize or possibly avoid a calamity and, if disaster strikes, to recover as quickly as possible with minimal negative repercussions. No business is immune to crisis, so every company needs to understand the basics of crisis management. This essential guide provides an overview of the topic and insights from leading experts.

For helpful crisis management templates such as for plans and playbooks, read “Free Crisis Management Templates.”

The crisis management team’s responsibilities vary by phase. In the planning stage, the CMT does the following:

  • Analyze potential risks and the organization’s vulnerabilities.
  • Talk to stakeholders at all levels, both inside and outside the organization, about their needs and concerns.
  • Identify resources available and needed to respond to a crisis.
  • Develop a detailed crisis management plan. (You can learn how to develop a crisis management plan in “Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Crisis Management Plan.”)
  • Obtain any missing resources.
  • Train all employees on what to do in a crisis.

In the crisis phase, the team is responsible for the following:

  • Monitor and detect early signs of an emergency.
  • Assess the impact of the crisis.
  • Activate the crisis response and the crisis command system.
  • Implement emergency measures and contingency plans.
  • Communicate important information to all stakeholders.
  • Arrange support services, such as first aid, mental health resources, and food.
  • Support morale.
  • Coordinate with senior management.

In the aftermath of a crisis, the team does the following:

  • Review what did and didn’t work well.
  • Revise the crisis management plan, based on this new learning.
  • Replenish resources and obtain any new needed resources.
  • Communicate changes to stakeholders.
  • Hold drills and rehearsals of the revised plan across the organization. 
  • Update the plan as required by changes in the organization or threat landscape.

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