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Dec 29, 2021

IROs more confident of crisis management skills in wake of Covid-19

IR Magazine research shows the experience of Covid-19 has greatly increased IRO confidence in handling any future crisis

More than eight in 10 IROs find their experience of the Covid-19 pandemic has made them more confident in handling any future crisis, according to the latest Crisis Communications report from IR Magazine.

More than a quarter of IROs polled went further, stating the experience had left them much more confident. Only 2 percent of IROs said the pandemic had left them feeling less confident in their abilities to navigate any potential crisis in the future.

The global experience of the pandemic has led to a worldwide increase in crisis management confidence. The lowest level of increased confidence is found in Asia, yet even here, more than three quarters of IROs feel better able to handle a crisis after Covid-19.

Confidence has also increased among IROs regardless of the size of company they work for. Although small-cap IROs show the fewest numbers, seven in 10 IROs who work for these smaller firms still express increased confidence. Less than one in 20 say they feel less confident.

The experience of Covid-19 is considered to be valuable to future crisis management no matter the nature of any potential crisis. IROs were asked to consider how useful their experience would be in dealing with a number of crisis categories, from corporate financial or managerial crises to natural disasters and macroeconomic issues. Only the category of product/service issues saw less than two thirds of IROs give a positive utility rating.

While the Covid-19 crisis in ongoing, it is likely that 2022 will see the end to its pandemic phase. And although the past two years have been tough, the IR community has learned clear lessons from the experience.

According to the report, the key take for IROs from the Covid-19 experience is the importance of regular, transparent communication with all stakeholders. As one IRO states: ‘It is better to over report than under report,’ while another expresses how important it is to ‘be available, fast to react, open and transparent. Be accurate, don’t over-promise.’

It may be a product of the universal nature of Covid-19 crisis, but IROs also appear more confident and less vulnerable in expressing to stakeholders the uncertainties they face and that this this is an important lesson for handling any future crisis.

As one IRO puts it: ‘We had good reception in flagging known impacts early, even if we couldn’t quantify them financially. It’s okay to say you don’t know right now, but you think this will likely be a material issue and you will communicate more as soon as you can.’

IR Magazine’s Crisis Communications report is available to advanced subscribers to IR Magazine.