Employee fears, as well as real threats of danger, pose immediate and long-term challenges to those who supervise others. Managing a workforce that has been traumatized by past or current events, or experiencing anxiety about possible future events, is both a challenge and an obligation. Leaders at all levels play an important role in providing guidance through traumatic events. Here are five important actions to take to help employees cope in times of crisis.
Develop a Strategy
Consult with ACI on a preparedness plan, policies regarding absenteeism, and effective strategies to address employees coping with difficult emotions. ACI’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can provide services and resources to address the incident depending on the level of impact.
Connect and Communicate
Crisis is a time for managers to listen and be present. It may help to arrange social activities, such as planning a memorial or fundraising event, or to hold forums for management and employees to engage in informal discussions. ACI’s EAP can provide critical incident stress debriefing (CISD) sessions as well as training sessions and webinars on topics such as Stress and Anxiety Management, Coping with Traumatic Events, and Parenting in Troubled Times.
Give Employees Time to Process
A variety of feelings are normal reactions to an abnormal situation. Give employees the time and tools to process feelings and let them know it is okay to ask for help. Provide information about available resources, including ACI’s EAP. Avoid over-reacting or under-reacting, as these approaches usually only increase anxiety and fear in the workplace.
Realize that no two traumatic events are the same, and individual responses and needs may vary. Sometimes working arrangements and deadlines need to be adjusted, or other changes may need to be addressed. Make periodic announcements of relevant information as needed, and provide reassurance throughout the process. ACI’s EAP can provide consultation on best practices in communication and response to traumatic events.
The workforce looks to leadership for guidance, strength and stability in the aftermath of tragedy. By working, maintaining a sense of routine, communicating clearly and listening openly, managers and supervisors can set the example for the workplace.
ACI’s EAP includes unlimited management consultation. To speak with a clinician and receive personalized support, contact ACI Specialty Benefits at 800.932.0034 or firstname.lastname@example.org. EAP services are also available to employees and all family members – even those out-of-state.