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ChatGPT for crisis management: a tool to overcome problems

This guide highlights ChatGPT's role in ensuring smooth internal communication, offering emotional support, and optimizing resource allocation during challenging times, ultimately aiding in maintaining business continuity and mitigating PR crises.

Travis Taborek

Travis Taborek

The thing about PR crises is that they start from the inside before they grow out of control.

PR disasters aren’t just a PR or a marketing problem, they are a company problem. They are delicate and time-sensitive situations that need to be dealt with quickly, and your team member’s contribution to their mitigation and resolution is a reflection on your company as a whole.

HR teams play an important part here, in making sure that the fallout caused by PR crises is kept to a minimum. HR teams bridge the communication between leadership and the rest of the team when the ship is going through troubled waters.

When the headlines start getting nasty and people on TikTok start pointing fingers, HR teams help people not to panic, while the

PR team helps the company to save face and address any wrong-doing, real or perceived.

When things go south, ChatGPT can be a real asset for HR professionals who are scrambling to make sure their team stays calm and doesn’t freak out.

With it, HR teams can help relay important and time-sensitive information to the people who need it, analyze what teams need what support, distribute resources, and provide empathetic responses during times of uncertainty and stress.

This guide will offer tips and advice on how HR teams can use ChatGPT for crisis management, with examples and prompts.

The role of HR in crisis management

As the HR team, it is your job to help make sure that your organization is prepared for times of trouble. When things are turbulent, it is up to you and the rest of your HR team to make sure communication remains open, that core business processes and departments remain operational, and that things slowly but surely return to normal.

Read more: Crisis management in the workplace: the role of HR

Here are some of the responsibilities you and your teammates in HR will face when the company faces a crisis.

1. Planning and preparedness

One of your most important duties is the creation of a Crisis Management Plan (CMP). This plan outlines the protocols and procedures for different worst-case scenarios, including data breaches and natural disasters.

2. Communication

You and your HR team serve as the link between leadership and the rest of the organization. You help people stay calm, and clear-headed, and work as a cohesive team so that things keep headed in the right direction, even when things get messy.

3. Employee wellbeing

It’s on you to make sure your team is still functioning, physically and mentally, during times of upheaval and uncertainty.

4. Legal and ethical compliance

While the rest of the company is working to ensure the business is still running, it’ll be up to you to make sure all the right actions happen swiftly to avoid being the target of lawsuits and irreparable brand damage.

5. Business continuity

Lastly, and most importantly of all, your most important function while the business is facing a crisis is to make sure that the business continues to run smoothly.

That can include onboarding new hires, reassigning roles and responsibilities, redistributing resources where necessary, and downsizing when it’s needed.

Use cases for ChatGPT in crisis management

When you’re the HR point person or the leader of an HR team and the company is facing a crisis situation, you must put out many fires and do it fast.

A lot of things need to happen, quickly. Memos need to go out. Press releases need to be sent to reporters. The legal team needs to approve everything to make sure your company isn’t slapped with a lawsuit.

Using ChatGPT to help you resolve the crisis is so helpful because ChatGPT is so adaptable. ChatGPT can be anything or anyone you want it to be, and it can switch between roles, personas, and tasks at a moment’s notice.

You will have to change hats often during the crisis. ChatGPT can do that as fast as you can.

1. Rapid response and information dissemination

Whistleblower lawsuits and workplace safety controversies happen often enough in the corporate world, and they can add up quickly. The penalties for violating Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines can cost your company $15,625 per workplace safety offense.

How do you avoid those lawsuits and fines? Make sure everyone who works at your company knows what the rules are.

Communication is critically important in situations like this, even more than usual. Companies that accepted responsibility for the situation, made a plan and stuck to it, stayed active on social media, and above all kept a dialogue going often come out of crises looking better than if they shut down communication and did nothing.

ChatGPT can be used to help pull data from your internal safety documentation and then help make your external communications.

Example prompt: ChatGPT, summarize the latest safety guidelines for employees

ChatGPT tip: Give ChatGPT the relevant sections from your employee workbook, then ask it to summarize that information for you to include in your team emails.

2. Emotional support

When a crisis happens, people’s jobs are on the line. People are stressed out. They’re anxious. They’re fearful. They’re apprehensive.

As the HR professional at your company, you’re in the best spot to ease nerves and reassure people about the situation.

ChatGPT can help be your health and wellness expert. You can train it to help provide your team with mindfulness resources that can give them needed emotional support. That way, they can ease their frayed nerves and keep their minds clear, so they focus on the difficult and necessary tasks ahead.

Example prompt: My company is facing a data privacy breach crisis. I’m worried about how it’ll affect my job. How can I cope with the stress?

ChatGPT tip: If you notice that your team has been stressed out and fearful about the status of their jobs, ChatGPT can help you come up with stress-management techniques you can then send out in a company-wide email or newsletter.

3. Resource allocation

When the company goes through a crisis, optimal resource allocation is key to resolving it as quickly as possible. You need to identify what departments are best placed to remedy the situation and what they need to do – as quickly as possible.

What ChatGPT does well is sort through large amounts of information and data, anticipate likely outcomes and scenarios, and help you see things from different angles you couldn’t otherwise.

One of the big personnel crises in recent memory was the WeWork scandal that led to CEO Adam Neumann stepping down after overvaluing the company.

Having the CEO leave during a crisis can send your whole team scrambling. Here’s something you can try with ChatGPT so that doesn’t happen to you.

Example prompt: {{Explain the situation and the crisis}}. What teams and departments need immediate assistance?

ChatGPT tip: Give ChatGPT a 1-2 sentence description of the situation you’re dealing with. Then, ChatGPT can help you assess what departments are going to need the most support while the crisis is ongoing.

Example prompt: Now, please generate a resource allocation report for those teams.

ChatGPT tip: Once you have a bead on what departments need help, have ChatGPT direct you to what resources they’re going to need, and work out how to give it to them.

Use ChatGPT for crisis management to save your bacon

Using ChatGPT to help you with your crisis management can help you resolve the situation faster, cleaner, and with less reputational damage. ChatGPT is adaptable and quick, which is what makes it effective for managing a crisis when time is of the essence.

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