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Chapter 4: Taking Care of Employees

SPHR, Kathryn McKee Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

This chapter covers the following topics:

Taking care of employees immediately after a disaster means making sure they are safe and secure. That’s the overarching issue for the employees and their families. Once that’s taken care of, you need to lead both purposefully and symbolically to get employees out of crisis mode and back to work. Your leadership actions will ease the employees’ anxiety, help to resolve and address the ambiguity of the situation, and provide employees with a sense of purpose, direction, and hope.

The broad actions you must take to deal with the human side of a crisis can be condensed into these seven procedures, generally performed in this order:

The number of times you will repeat the seven-step process depends on the type of disaster, its scope, and the degree of trauma to which your employees are exposed. For example, in terms of the employees’ safety and security, you have to deal with both reality and perception. Sometimes people perceive that they’re in a safe spot but are actually in danger, as in the case of someone driving on roads with downed power lines after a storm to get to family members. At other times people perceive that they’re in a danger zone, such as a person riding an elevator to an upper floor a few months after a building fire or earthquake, but in fact they’re experiencing post-traumatic stress.

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Appendix

SPHR, Kathryn McKee Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

This is an example of the material that First Interstate provided employees after the building fire described in the Prologue. Mory Framer, the trauma expert, developed it and has given his permission to include it here. This guide should be customized to your organization’s situation, including its ability to provide for outside help.

We hope you will never have to refer to this handout. But if you are ever a victim of a disaster, you can expect to experience aftereffects to varying degrees, and they can last anywhere from six weeks to three months or more.

We also want to alert you that there can be a ripple effect through your family and other loved ones. This handout is designed to help you through the healing process. The acknowledgement of emotional reactions helps shorten recovery time and prevent complications. Reactions can vary widely from one day to the next. Don’t be alarmed by the reemergence of emotions after days or weeks.

Don’t push thoughts and memories of the event away; talk about them. Don’t feel embarrassed about a repetitious need to talk to people.

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A Sample Telephone Tree

SPHR, Kathryn McKee Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub
Medium 9781576754207

A Sample Wallet Card

SPHR, Kathryn McKee Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub
Medium 9781576754207

An Outline for Business Continuity Planning

SPHR, Kathryn McKee Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

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