Sunday, July 24, 2016

What You can Do to Help Your Employees Deal with Tragedy

Created by Kimberly Kline, API


Sadly, in this world, tragedies happen.  From the events in Orlando (which happened to occur while I was there), to ongoing acts of hate across the globe and at home, incidents of violence and terrorism are part of the world we live in.



Whether on a local, national, or world wide scale, they impact us all.


And if they happen within the workplace, or hit close to home for any of your employees, then you need to know how to deal with the aftermath.



It is important that you provide, or help your employees and their families find, the support they need both emotionally and personally.  There are even workplace accommodations you may want to consider.



Steps to Help Your Employees Deal with Tragedy “Tweet This”



Developing a plan to help guide you through this emotional time, long before a tragedy strikes, makes good business sense.



Created by Kimberly Kline, API




What You Should Do:



Reach Out
Reach out to your employees.  Offer them support and understanding.  Many times simply giving them a chance to come together as a group or share their grief individually can make all the difference.  What is important is that your employees know you care and that you sympathize.




Help Your Employees Deal with Their Grief
Your employees can be emotionally impacted or even physically injured by a tragedy or violent episode.  They may experience symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) or become debilitated by extreme grief.  Because of this, they may be entitled to certain accommodations as outlined in the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Make sure these are listed in your plan and that your employees understand how they may pertain to their individual situation. 




Consider Increasing Your Time Off 
and Leave Policies
To help your employees particularly affected, you may consider expanding your leave of absence policies. This can include extending FMLA leave to your employees whose family members have been victims or otherwise affected by the incident. Taking this step shows you recognize their feelings of grief and loss and want to help them deal with them in a respectful and compassionate way.  Being flexible now will not only help your employees heal, but it will also be remembered and appreciated later. 




Give Back and Make a Difference 
When tragedy strikes, people often feel helpless.  They search for something, anything, they can possibly do to make some sort of a difference.  Empowering them by organizing efforts to help makes sense.  You can make a donation or raise funds to help support the victims, their families, and your community.  Or you could come together as a group to create your own project. No matter what you choose, finding a way to help will give your employees a chance to make a difference and, most importantly, start to heal. 



While there is not much you can do to prevent acts of terrorism, violence, and evil from happening in the world, you do have some control over what happens in your own workplace.  And, as a small business owner, this should one of your top priorities.



That is why you need to be proactive and develop clear policies to deal with Discrimination, Bullying and Harassment, and Violence in your workplace.




Created by Kimberly Kline, API




How To Fight Discrimination, 
Bullying & Harassment, and Violence 
in Your Workplace



Discrimination
Fighting discrimination in the workplace begins at the hiring stage. It is never acceptable to deny employment based on race, gender, religion, or any other protected status.  The fight continues by prohibiting any type of discrimination against existing employees. 

You need to make sure your employees know that any action taken against another employee because of their race, sex, etc. will not be tolerated.  This includes racial slurs, derogatory comments, and any physical actions including touching and, most definitely, assault.




Bullying & Harassment
Despite your employees being adults, it is important that you recognize that Bullying does occur in the workplace.  And, if it happens, there can be serious consequences for the victim, you, and your small business.

Victims often find themselves experiencing health problems, stress issues, and emotional turmoil.  They may even be absent from work more often.  All of these will have an impact on their work performance.  

Bullying and harassment can also have a negative impact on your workplace.  Other employees will feel the stress and tension.  They may even be concerned that they will become a victim.

This will all have an overall effect on your small business.  Lower levels of productivity and a stressful work environment can all cost your company.

Before bullying or harassment become an issue in your workplace, you need to set clear and concise expectations of acceptable behavior within your company.

Screening your employees before making a hire, making your company a Zero Tolerance / Bully Free Zone, and establishing a safe way to report any incidents is key.

Find out more about what you can do to prevent and deal with Bullying and Harassment in your workplace in Dangers to Your Small Business - Workplace Bullies.




Workplace Violence
Incidents of violence in your workplace can have a devastating effect on your entire company ~ but especially on your employees and their families.

Luckily it is not common, but having a plan in place to deal with it in case it does is wise.  

As an employer, it is your obligation to ensure your workplace is as safe as possible.  This means doing background checks before you hire, being aware of signs that a problem may be brewing, and knowing how to deal with an act of violence if it does occur.

Of course prevention (as far as is possible) should be your top goal. This includes running not only a criminal court record search on all your potential employees, but also checking with their past employers and references.

You should also develop a comprehensive written policy that specifically deals with workplace violence.  It is vital you include language that prohibits any violent behavior and also addresses the consequences if it does occur.

You can learn more about dealing with Violence in the Workplace in Dangers to Your Small Business ~ Violence & Drugs in the Workplace.



The most important thing for You to remember is that you don’t have to be helpless.  By taking simple, concrete steps now, even before a tragedy occurs, you will not only will you be helping your employees and their families, you will be protecting your company. 


And that is important for any Small Business!




I can help you 
develop a strong background check 
and hiring plan 
that fits with your Small Business!


Authored by  





Subscribe to my blog 
and You will receive one new article each week dedicated to tips and news focused on 
Small Business!



And find out more