Ensure That Everyone is Safe
The first thing to do, in the event of a traumatic event in the workplace, is to ensure all staff members – and clients – are safe. Next, call the appropriate organisations, such as the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
Be forthright with your staff, and let them know what is going on. This will quell rumours from spreading around the workplace. Address any concerns that your employees may have immediately, and make sure to follow guidelines and company rules if there are any.
Set Up a Critical Incident Response Plan
Traumatised employees need help straight away. If the trauma did not occur in the workplace, ask what the employee plans to do outside of work hours, if he or she has support, and offer help.
Expect a wide variety of reactions from your staff. Some may:
- Express anger, disbelief, denial, or depression.
- Be in shock, or have angry outbursts or uncontrollable crying.
- Appear numb or unaffected.
- Experience confusion, forgetfulness, distraction, or irritability.
These reactions may be immediate, short-term, or ongoing.
If you yourself are suffering from trauma, make sure you take advantage of all management support that you can access. And don’t forget to take the time to ensure you are doing okay, too. If you need it, get support. Don’t try to be an unfeeling machine, as it will only make things worse.
Benefits of Offering Support
Besides the obvious desire to just be a good manager and be there for an employee in need, there are other motivations for getting help for a traumatised or injured employee.
Here are three benefits of offering support:
- It addresses the question of, “Was the company there for its employees?”, and reassures workers and others that you have their best interests in mind.
- It lets people (and potential clients) know that you and your company were prepared for treating workplace accidents, and also that you were able to divert what could have been long-term problems for the employees, the company, and the public at large.
- It helps the employee(s) return to work sooner. Timely intervention can reduce time off following the event, and can help prevent future recurrence of stress or anxiety-related problems.
The sooner an employee is treated, healed, and returns to work, the less money the company loses due to reduced production from that employee. The company will also pay less for treatment if the trauma was work-related. Needless to say, anxiety advice and treatment can stave off long-term residual effects.
The best way to protect your business, your employees, and your reputation in the community is to deal with trauma immediately and effectively. The sooner you can address any issues that arise, the better it will be for everyone involved.