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The COVID-19 crisis has clearly demonstrated the importance of having a good crisis management system in place. It is crucial that organizations have a crisis management plan to be able to react quickly, and in a structured and thoughtful way, once a critical incident or crisis occurs.

A critical incident or crisis is any event that could endanger the safety and well-being of individuals and/or jeopardize the continuity, reputation, integrity and financial health of an organization. To ensure maximum preparedness for the unforeseen, KPMG has developed a crisis management framework and process.

At KPMG we see that current crisis management systems in most organizations are based on static business continuity plans (BCPs) which are not always easy to apply and use in practice. In addition, many people within an organization are not always aware of their roles and responsibilities before, during and after a crisis. And finally, we’ve noticed that when a crisis does occur, the existing BCPs are often outdated. 

Advantages of a Dynamic Crisis Management framework

Clear roles and responsibilities

Roles, responsibilities and competencies are clearly defined and documented within the organization.

Awareness within the organization

Everyone in the organization should be aware of the crisis management framework and the key persons related to crisis management should have a thorough understanding of the framework. By maintaining awareness through recurring training and information programs for all employees you guarantee that crisis management becomes part of the core values of your organization.

Exercise and maintenance

The crisis management framework is regularly reviewed to ensure continued suitability, adequacy and effectiveness.

Practical templates that can be used during a crisis

The crisis management framework provides the following templates:

  • Notification sheet
  • Information sheet
  • Evaluation matrix
  • Scenario building
  • Action plan
  • Logbook
  • Evaluation sheet

KPMG’s Dynamic Crisis Management framework

KPMG has developed a dynamic framework consisting of three phases, namely: pre-crisis, crisis and post-crisis. The pre-crisis phase gives an overview of all steps an organization needs to take to be well prepared for a crisis. The crisis phase provides guidance that helps organizations manage a crisis in a structured manner. Finally, the post-crisis phase describes how to carry out recovery actions and crisis assessment and provides guidelines on how to implement improvement actions.

The composition of the crisis management team is not static. We create a core team which,  depending on the nature of the crisis, can be supplemented with additional roles. In addition, the organization should appoint a process owner who is accountable for the implementation and maintenance of the crisis management framework.

Our framework contains clear governance rules, roles and responsibilities, practical instructions and checklists in the event of a critical incident or crisis. The incident or crisis is categorized based on an evaluation matrix. In function of the result, the appropriate governance body is activated.

Crisis management framework

Crisis management checklist

The crisis management team is at the heart of a successful crisis management. The core tasks of this team revolve around taking measures and actions in a crisis situation that are necessary to bring the crisis to a successful end and to safeguard the continuity of the organization. To manage the crisis, the crisis management team uses the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle.

What is a PDCA cycle?

Crisis management framework Plan Do Check Act

Plan

Information gathering

  1. Is the information related to the crisis complete and accurate?
  2. Is the evaluation matrix up-to-date?
  3. Is the current composition of the crisis management team and their working method adequate? 

Scenario thinking

  1. What are the possible scenarios for managing the crisis?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each scenario?

Decision-making

  1. Choose a scenario or strategy.
  2. Translate the scenario into an action plan.
  3. Define the communication plan and actions.

Do

Operational execution

  1. Brief the relevant departments and/or task forces.
  2. Actively follow-up on the implementation of the actions.
  3. Implement the communication plan.
  4. Update the action plan.

Check

Evaluation

  1. Were all actions implemented as anticipated?
  2. Did the actions result in the desired outcomes?
  3. Are any adjustments needed?
  4. Update the logbook.

Act

Follow-up

  1. Implement the adjustments.
  2. Update the action plan.