Public relations problems could be catastrophic for a business. There’s an obviously good reason why so many huge corporations have to invest a ton in PR. Cultivating favor from current and prospective customers is critical to a business’s ability to generate revenue. Major financial harm could result from an episodic incident that gets negative press or issues with ongoing managerial practices that reflect badly on a company’s leadership. Ultimately, business owners and managers need to be conscientious about steering clear of potential PR nightmares.
1. Prevent data breaches
Cyber attacks are becoming more and more pervasive across every type of industry. Even healthcare providers aren’t immune from the countless criminal enterprises out to infiltrate, extort, or defraud businesses. In fact, the highly sensitive information that providers store and transmit as well as the high degree of urgency in much of their day-to-day operations make them an exceptionally appealing target for hackers armed with ransomware and would be identity thieves after patients’ data.
As a business owner, you need to take every reasonable precaution that you can to shield your business from online threats. Make sure that all of your cyber security initiatives are consistent with the best practices in your industry and consistent with any applicable legal requirements in the jurisdictions where you operate. Use technological safeguards such as machine identity management tools and encrypted communications to ensure that you’re transmitting information securely. Train your staff about the importance of cyber security, and ensure that staff knows who to contact about data management questions or concerns.
2. Demonstrate environmental accountability
Companies. that don’t take adequate measures to mitigate the environmental impact that their activities are going to have to answer for it. Causing direct harm to the environment could run afoul of environmental regulations. Of course, legal protections for the environment aren’t where they should be. In fact, the previous administration rolled back environmental protections and staffed the Environmental Protection Agency with individuals who put private interests before environmental emergencies. Nevertheless, businesses that shirk this type of accountability run the risk of extensive damage to their public image. People simply don’t want to support companies that are actively producing excessive or ultrahazardous pollution.
Avoid bad press by making environmental accountability at the core of your company’s mission and values. You should be able to attest to the decisive steps that you’re taking to advance sustainability in your regular activities.
3. Prioritize safety
Any perceived or actual negligence that results in bodily harm to anyone can be catastrophic for a business’ image. A company’s leadership always needs to put the safety of its employees and the customers who it serves first. When a business misses the mark in managing working conditions, it conveys that they don’t care about its personnel. Likewise, problems with quality control that could jeopardize customers’ safety are a clear indication that a business values profits over keeping people safe.
Doing things safely doesn’t just show people that a company’s management is ethical. It also shows them that it’s competent and professional. In other words, a company that can’t take care of basic physical safety concerns won’t inspire confidence that it’s capable of managing anything important. Understandably, businesses aren’t going to win consumers’ trust if allegations of negligence or policies that knowingly put workers in harm’s way tarnish its public image.
Accident prevention should be paramount in your management plan. Ensure that your initiatives are in line with OSHA’s guidance and current with the standards that are specific to your industry. Extensive training for staff during the onboarding process and ongoing safety meetings can make safety central to your company culture and public image. Investing in technology and equipment that makes the work you do safer and reduces any known risks to customers are ultimately going to be well worth it.
Using your resources wisely could spare your company from serious PR woes. Effective preventive risk management may ultimately require far fewer resources than attempting to do damage control in the aftermath of a problem.