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COVID-19’s Impact Ushered in a New Era of Crisis Management

By Allison Philips
Senior Copywriter and Edge Contributor

As mandatory lockdowns were imposed across the globe in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that drastically upended organizations and businesses, organizational leaders were abruptly thrown into crisis mode and employees were forced to switch to remote work.  The pandemic reinforced the need for strong leadership in moments of crisis as the disruption it caused affected many parts of organizations.

Other crises such as natural disasters and product recalls can affect organizations as well. Now, organization executives can see how important it is that their leaders and managers possess crisis management training so that they can be better prepared for other crises.

Related link: 3 Logistics Lessons We’ve Learned from COVID-19’s Masterclass

Crisis Management Training Is No Longer Optional for Managers

As organizations continue to struggle through the lasting impacts of COVID-19 and ponder the impact of other potential crises, organizational crisis management has taken on a much more crucial role. Dr. Stacey Little, the Department Chair of Management at the University, notes, “Organizations are realizing that leaders need this kind of training. They must be able to protect employees and customers and maintain business continuity.

“Once an organization has a manager trained in crisis management, it becomes a boon to the group. The manager understands what strategies need to be implemented and can help others do what needs to be done.”

She adds, “Something is always going to come up for managers to handle. For example, if we must shut down, how do we handle it? Organizations that are not prepared are literally one incident away from going out of business.”

Related link: Podcast: Meeting the Business Challenges of Tomorrow

New Organizational Crisis Management Certificate Is Now Available

Recently, the University launched an online graduate certificate in organizational crisis management. This graduate certificate is a multidisciplinary program that explores leadership planning and crisis communication response strategies across a variety of sectors, including business, government, and healthcare.  

“Leaders are so important when there’s a crisis but in some organizations, leaders’ roles might be overlooked because management thinks these crises won’t happen to them. This certificate prepares leaders from more than a foundational basis. They learn to develop strategies to respond to certain events,” states Dr. Little.

The University’s online graduate certificate in crisis management guides learners through crisis management concepts and activities that can be applied to the new landscape of work. The classes will cover the leadership of employees, protecting organizational processes and reducing risk as seen through a leader’s viewpoint.

Students taking this crisis management certificate online will discover how to create crisis management communication protocols, originate crisis planning strategies and gauge continuity planning processes. They will also be able to describe the organizational impact of inadequate crisis planning and create strategies for leading organizational change.

Dr. Little says, “This graduate certificate is geared specifically to leaders. It was designed for mid- to high-level managers, particularly those in established roles in operations and human resources. If someone needs to be trained in a hurry, the certificate requires only 12 credit hours.”

Staying Prepared in the Event of a Crisis

The recent pandemic proves that the type of a crisis and its scale or severity can be wildly unpredictable. Long-term business or organizational continuity during a crisis depends on initial preparation and a strategic response to leading a workforce, systems, partners, and customers.

Avoiding or mitigating potential business disruptions depends on a well-crafted crisis management strategy, based on real-world scenarios. Crisis managers must have the ability to examine current organizational processes and people in terms of crisis mitigation, actively monitor emerging risks, and offer an emergency plan that encompasses organizational communication protocols, emergency and disaster management protocols, and leadership actions.

For managers, building strong relationships with customers and employees, developing well-defined crisis management plans, and generating authentic communication for both internal and external audiences will go a long way toward mitigating new crises. Those managerial actions will also ensure employee safety and customer understanding.

Allison Philips has over a decade of experience covering education, financial services, technology, travel and healthcare industries. Her work has appeared in campaigns for clients such as AARP, Audi, Bloomberg BNA, Blue Shield, Burger King, Citibank, Marriott, Oracle, American Military University and American Public University.

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