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  • Brussels blog
  • 24-10-2017

Furrowed brows and rueful looks could be seen (once again) on the faces of the participants in our second compliance workshop last week.

While the first workshop dealt with a number of (often recognisable) issues in relation to cybersecurity, this time the discussion centred on crisis communication. Starting from five case studies which we examined from both a legal and communication perspective, we shared a number of do's and don'ts in the event a crisis situation arises within a company.

"Companies shouldn't ask themselves if they will ever be faced with a crisis situation but rather when this will be the case"

Each case was taken from daily (corporate) life. An important takeaway was the message that companies shouldn't ask themselves if they will ever be faced with a crisis situation but rather when this will be the case. The reactions of participants were mixed, ranging from "this would never happen to us" to "actually, it's a bit like this within our company".

Modern means of communication present a vast number of opportunities but also entail a wide variety of risks. Managing these risks requires special attention. Without arguing for a mountain of paperwork and red tape, we believe it's important that each company have at least the appropriate internal procedures and mechanisms to manage these risks. The size of the company and the sector in which it is active are decisive factors in this regard. A small business with five employees can get by with transparent internal communication at regular intervals. For a (small or larger) company active abroad, clear rules (which of course take into account cultural differences) are essential.

"Every company should be prepared for crisis situations"

The most important message we wish to convey is that every company should be prepared for crisis situations. In this regard, preparation involves applying a specific structure rather than trying to find solutions to the various situations that may arise.

To help with this, we've drawn up a checklist. This checklist should be printed out and provided to two or three people within the company who are responsible for taking charge when a crisis occurs. It is then the task of these individuals to quickly establish a structure to deal with the situation and  prevent the crisis from taking on a life of its own.

In addition to the checklist, a scenario should also be drawn up clarifying who does what, and when. Ideally, this scenario (like a fire drill, for example) should be enacted on a regular basis, to ensure that everything works automatically and smoothly when a crisis arises.

Upcoming compliance seminars
Do you wish to receive invitations to our compliance seminars or would you like to invite a colleague to join? Send an e-mail with your name, company and e-mail address to

More information about the NautaDutilh Compliance team can be found here.

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