How to Form a Crisis Response Team (Step-by-Step)

  • By: Adam Wire
  • April 23, 2024
Crisis Response Team
Reading Time: 3 minutes

When your company faces a crisis, those who step forward and take charge comprise your crisis response team. With crisis response plans in place, your team is pre-defined. They know their roles and the right actions to take to mitigate damage and restore business continuity

The best way for any board of directors to plan for risks and emergencies is to build a crisis response plan and assign the right people to response teams. Forming your crisis response team involves identifying the people on your staff with the skills, authority, and disposition to handle a crisis as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

What is Crisis Response?

Crisis response refers to the immediate action and strategies put in place to address or mitigate the impact of a crisis situation, such as natural disasters, public health emergencies, conflicts, or other catastrophic incidents. 

A crisis response may include mobilizing resources, providing emergency assistance to affected individuals or communities, implementing safety measures, and communicating critical information to the broader public.

Crisis response also involves protecting the company’s assets and operations from harm. Depending on the crisis, a company may need to ensure employee safety and well-being, protect equipment from harmful conditions, defend data from theft or corruption, maintain facility operations, or resume operations from a remote location.

Having the right people trained and ready to take action when a crisis occurs is key to optimal outcomes.

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Benefits of a Crisis Response Team

Overall, forming a crisis response team helps organizations better prepare for, respond to, and recover from unforeseen emergencies. Forming a crisis response team offers several benefits, including:

  • Rapid and coordinated response: A dedicated crisis response team can facilitate improved emergency response, ensuring that resources are deployed efficiently. 
  • Specialized expertise: An effective crisis response team often consists of individuals with specialized skills and training in such areas as emergency management, data security, equipment safety, etc.
  • Improved communication: A crisis response team facilitates improved communication among team members, as well as external stakeholders, including government agencies, media outlets, and the public at large.

How to From a Crisis Response Team

Here’s a step-by-step guide to forming a capable crisis response team:

1. Assess Needs and Risks

First, assess the various crises your organization may face and the risks of each. This could include natural disasters like floods or earthquakes, security threats such as data breaches or cyberattacks, and public relations issues like product recalls or negative media attention.

For each scenario, evaluate the potential impact on your organization and stakeholders, which may include:

  • Property damage
  • Loss of revenue
  • Reputational harm
  • Threats to employee safety 

Understanding these potential consequences guides your team’s preparation and resource allocation.

2. Define Objectives and Scope

Once the potential crises have been identified, the crisis response team must define its objectives and scope. Common objectives include:

  • Ensuring the safety of employees and customers
  • Minimizing damage to property and assets
  • Protecting the organization’s reputation
  • Restoring normal operations as quickly as possible

You must also determine the scope of the crisis response team, which includes what type of crises they can handle, their level of authority, and communication protocols. For example, is their role only crisis stabilization, or should they perform crisis intervention as well? Is there a point at which they should consult experts, including behavioral health and law enforcement professionals?

3. Select Team Members

Next, select team members with the right skills and experience to handle crisis situations. This could include representatives from the communications, legal, human resources, IT, and operations departments. Recruit a diverse team to bring different perspectives to crisis management. 

4. Develop Plans and Procedures

With the team in place, create a comprehensive crisis management plan that outlines how the team will respond to different crisis scenarios. Include communication strategies, decision-making processes, and resource allocation. Define roles and responsibilities for each team member to ensure clarity and efficiency during a crisis.

5. Commit to Routine Training and Exercises

When the plan is complete, prepare routine drills and training exercises to prepare your crisis response team to act immediately when a crisis occurs. In a severe weather event, this may include testing the emergency communication network and cloud infrastructure, holding “lock-in” tests using survival resources, and running power shut-off tests to ensure equipment is swiftly shut down properly or switches to backup power immediately.

OnBoard Powers Effective Emergency Response

OnBoard empowers your board of directors to hold both scheduled and emergency board meetings to address crisis planning with the greatest efficiency. Our comprehensive set of board meeting management tools can help your board focus on the agenda, vote with clarity, and build and securely store crisis planning documents to prepare your company for any future emergency. The intuitive platform enables everyone from a member-at-large to the executive chairman to conduct their duties with ease. 

Download our free board meeting minutes template for a guide to structuring minutes to accurately and legally reflect what occurred in the meeting.

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About The Author

Adam Wire
Adam Wire
Adam Wire is a Content Marketing Manager at OnBoard who joined the company in 2021. A Ball State University graduate, Adam worked in various content marketing roles at Angi, USA Football, and Adult & Child Health following a 12-year career in newspapers. His favorite part of the job is problem-solving and helping teammates achieve their goals. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and two dogs. He’s an avid sports fan and foodie who also enjoys lawn and yard work and running.