It is a scenario that you hope you never have to experience: a catastrophe strikes and your property is in the line of destruction. It does not pay to ignore the facts that at any time, some sort of crisis could hit your property. While natural disasters probably top your list of possibilities, there are plenty of man-made issues – broken water main, anyone? – that can crop up as well. Having an effective crisis management plan in place can make a chaotic event less so and increase the comfort level of your tenants as well.
Formulate a Plan
Long before there is ever a need for it, make a crisis management plan. Though it might be difficult – and seem tedious to do so – try to incorporate every crisis situation that might affect your property. For a property in Florida, for example, you would not likely have to plan for a blizzard to move through the area. This does not mean, though, that you should not have a strategy in place to deal with a freak snowstorm that can make an unexpected appearance. Your crisis management plan should, of course, include accommodations for hurricanes and other severe weather related incidents that are common to the area.
Communicate With Your Tenants
Foster a sense of transparency and set a tone of being proactive. This will help your tenants feel safe and that their concerns are being heard. Gather the facts pertaining to the crisis and present them in a format that is easy for all of your tenants to understand. Provide written materials that residents can refer to again at a later time if further questions arise. Be available to answer questions and concerns or designate a go-to person to handle that aspect of the crisis.
Understand What Occurred
Whether it was a natural occurrence or the result of human error, briefly outline the incident as well as the impact faced by the residents. If the incident occurred because of something that you or your staff did – or if it was exacerbated by the actions or inaction of management – issue a formal apology. With this apology, include steps that have been set into place to ensure that the incident does not occur in the future.
Establish a Chain of Command
Your residents will want to speak to someone in charge who has the answers to their questions – or at least the authority to disseminate information. If that person is in an organization outside your own, do your best to provide your tenants with the correct contact information so that they can have their questions and concerns addressed.
If your agency is the one who is in charge, be sure to designate someone who has the authority to speak on the behalf of your organization. This person should be as updated as possible on the incident as well as the steps that management is taking to address the issue.
Use Multiple Communication Channels
While putting things down in writing is important, the delivery of that information will likely need to encompass a variety of different media outlets. While delivering a copy of your incident statement to each door on your property is a good start, it is possible that not everyone will see it in a timely manner. Utilizing social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, as well as sending emails, to reach tenants helps you cover all the bases in shorter amount of time and using less manpower to do so.
While a crisis can occur at your property at any time, its presence does not need to spell disaster for you. Establishing a clear and concise crises management plan can help you stay in control of the situation while keeping your tenants in the loop.