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AfricaMoney | May 1, 2017

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MIoD: Risk management expert Bert van Walbeek sheds light on crisis communication

MIoD: Risk management expert Bert van Walbeek sheds light on crisis communication

The Mauritius Institute of Directors (MIoD) organised a crisis management workshop with the guest speaker being Bert van Walbeek, a global expert in risk management, who addressed the floor on how a corporate crisis can be properly managed, and provided details on how communication should flow in such a situation. (Image: Wazna Gunga)

Renowned risk management expert Bert van Walbeek is currently in Mauritius where he was the guest speaker at an interactive workshop organized by the Mauritius Institute of Directors (MIoD) on crisis communication on May 11th, 2015, at the Henessy Park Hotel.

Critical questions such as : How to manage a crisis situation? When and how to communicate? were some of the pillars around which the workshop on crisis communication was centered. Thanks to this workshop, the participants were able to learn how to master crisis communication, which is an important asset to maintain corporate reputation in today’s cut-throat business world.

The aim of the workshop was to provide keys tools to preserve and protect the reputation of a company, with trainings providing a wide overview of such unpredictable events that can put at risk the expectations of shareholders and employees, with adverse consequences for business reputation.

The participants were taken through the 10 steps to manage a communication crisis in an effective way. These steps involved, among others, the setting up of a crisis unit that will define and implement the strategy, to anticipate scenarios with identification of short and middle term implications and mitigants, to organise and to coordinate actions, to review the action plan  regularly, and to see if it is necessary to mobilise the expertise necessary for robust management of the crisis.

The facilitator, Bert van Walbeek, CEO of The Winning Edge, who has more than 35 years of experience in risk management, made his choice of crisis communication tools clear, especially for the hospitality sector.

He is originally from Holland, currently lives in Thailand and enjoys  a great reputation worldwide. He has collaborated with companies in China, Macau, Bahrain, Taiwan, Thailand and, of course, Mauritius, over many projects and trainings on crisis management.

He will continue his sojourn in the island economy till 18th May, 2015, during which period he is expected to liven up several internal sessions in companies.

“Crisis management must first go through a leader who knows the importance of communication, and has concern for the victims – be it customers or still, members of the affected families – no matter how small the perceived degree of severity of the crisis. It is also important to improve the perception of the public, that is, to eliminate the negative perception, and to maximise the dissemination of positive stories in the press.”

Jane Valls, the MIoD CEO, underlined the importance of training directors in crisis communication, as well as making corporate communication and professionals and risk managers, “risk ready”.

Jane Valls also added that, “Crisis in companies is not so easy to manage. It is a question of whether participants are primed to get ready well before these contingencies arise.”

“It is not only important to know what could possibly be a threat for the company but also to know how we should communicate when a crisis takes place so that the reputation of the company is protected,” she concluded.

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