Employers increasingly know the importance of crisis management

Crisis managers are employed to respond to business threats.

Find out what a crisis manager is, what skills they need and how an MSc in Risk, Crisis and Resilience Management can help you secure a role in crisis management.

COVID highlighted the importance of crisis management and the cost – in both financial and human terms – when things go wrong. In demand more than ever before, a host of different employers are seeking crisis managers to mitigate and respond to potential business threats and unforeseen events.

Below, we give you the low-down on crisis management and how to be come a great crisis manager. 

What is crisis management? 

Crisis management refers to the steps that an organisation can take to ideally prevent or prepare for and respond to events or activities that may threaten to harm their business and its reputation.

By developing and distributing a crisis management plan, an employer can identify and evaluate potential risks, both common and rare, up front, then define the roles and responses required to minimise the damage to the organisation, its employees and customers. 

The global pandemic has taught us that crises can occur at any moment – with or without warning – and take many forms. Major incidents, for example, most likely to affect operations, could include power failure, cyber or terrorist attack, natural disasters, criminal offense, serious injury or death.

While controversies, which pose a threat to public, customer and shareholder opinion, could include staff redundancy, public protests, poor performance, complaints or misconduct, to name just a few.  

Looking to identify risk and guide your organisation through times of crises? Find out how an MSc Risk, Crisis and Resilience can help you succeed:

Explore the course  ❯

What does a crisis manager do? 

It is the responsibility of a crisis manager to be proactive in identifying possible threats, developing the corporate crisis management plan and ensuring it runs smoothly. A crisis manager is involved at every stage – before, during, and after a crisis.  

Firstly, they will help establish the systems, processes and actions needed to respond to the crises they have identified, before they happen, often communicating with and giving training to key individuals.

When a crisis occurs, they’ll likely develop a targeted action plan, monitoring the situation closely and reporting to senior management, providing ongoing guidance and revising their recommendations accordingly.

Once the crisis is over, it’s the job of the crisis manager to review the response plan, identify what did and did not work, and make any necessary changes. 

What skills do you need as a crisis manager? 

First and foremost, a crisis manager needs to remain calm under pressure and be able to handle stress and stressful situations, their own and that of others. They also need to be able to think clearly and act fast: to see what’s going on and understand what needs to be done in the best interests of their organisation. 

Critical thinking skills are essential, as are strong leadership and interpersonal skills, having the ability to motivate employees to take action in the most difficult of situations, yet keep them calm enough to be effective.  

A good crisis manager must possess great communication skills, but they also need to be diplomatic. When the pressure is on, they may be telling some difficult home truths to the highest levels of management. No matter how sensitive the situation, they need to make sure messages are received loud and clear, and quickly understood.  

How can I become a crisis manager? 

One potential route to becoming a crisis manager is to study a crisis management degree and gain crisis management certification. 

The University of Portsmouth’s part-time online MSc Risk, Crisis and Resilience Management will equip you with the critical thinking, decision making and analytical skills you need to immediately assist organisations identify and prepare for crises.

You’ll learn about the differences between crisis and risk management, and the challenges organisations face in maintaining strong governance, continuity and crisis management plans. 

Furthermore, this course is accredited by The Institute of Risk Management (IRM), the leading professional body for Enterprise Risk Management. This means that, on successful completion, you’ll not only gain a globally recognised qualification, but will also be entitled to exemption from all 6 modules of the International Diploma in Risk Management.

You can apply for GradIRM membership and, once you have 3 or more years of relevant experience, upgrade to Certified Membership. 

What career opportunities are available to crisis managers? 

The specialist knowledge and skillset you will gain after studying our MSc Risk, Crisis and Resilience Management can open up a wide range of roles all over the world, in the public, private and third sector.

Organisations and businesses of every type are subject to elements of risk to operations or reputation, which provides opportunities to work for almost any type of organisation – from central and local government departments, to SMEs or multinationals, charities and international NGOs. You could end up working for a foreign embassy, European institute, consultancy firm or private security company. 

Typical roles include: risk analyst; risk manager; risk officer; risk consultant; risk reduction specialist; disaster manager; planning officer; emergency planning officer; crisis management analyst; operational resilience manager; international humanitarian coordinator. 

As well as more generalist roles, you could also choose to specialise in one particular field of crisis management, for example, policy making, disaster management, financial crisis, and public relations or crisis communications.

Find out more about the career prospects and specialist roles available for graduates of an MSc in Risk, Crisis and Resilience Management:

Discover career opportunities  ❯ 

Next steps 

You can start our two-year part-time online MSc in January, May or September. To find out more, telephone +44 (0)23 9400 3692, email info@study-online.port.ac.uk, message us on WhatsApp on +44 (0)7862 468 106 or complete the form below:

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