Communicate with your employees
- A message should go out to all employees from a senior manager.
- Communicate the importance of the situation, and reflect the normal fears and anxieties that we all share.
- List any steps the organization is taking to ensure the safety of its employees.
- Remind employees of resources available to them in the community and through their jobs, including the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
Communication is a two-way process
This can be done informally, by walking around chatting with people, or more formally through a survey, perhaps via email. Ask your employees how they are doing.
- What are their main concerns?
- What do they need from you?
- Provide updates, or access to information, as subsequent news breaks.
Expect productivity to be lower
- Be patient and compassionate about it.
- Consider getting employees together for lunch or a snack as a way of tapping into group dynamics for support.
Be aware that some individuals may have more intense reactions than others
Persons at risk for such intense reactions include:
- Those whose lives were directly impacted by the event or similar events.
- Those who have experienced prior losses or traumas and for whom the current events serve to reactivate emotions.
- Those who are vulnerable to stress due to a mental, emotional, or substance abuse disorder.
Employers should be sensitive to the fact that intense reactions may result from unseen personal factors such as the above. The best course for managers is:
- Signal your willingness to talk.
- Be patient.
- Practice active listening.
- Be supportive.
- Problem-solve with the employee around covering their work responsibilities.
- Make sure they know where to get help. If they are already in treatment they should contact their therapist for an appointment. If they are not, a referral to the EAP may be a good place to start.
Use resources available to you as a manager
- If you have concerns about how individual employees are reacting, or the effect on your workforce in general, call your EAP for a management consultation.
- Consider scheduling a Critical Incident Stress Management group through the EAP.
- Remember to take care of yourself so you can take care of your employees; use your EAP if needed.
This material is provided by Cigna for informational/educational purposes only. It is not medical/clinical advice.