For many of us, we will return to work today and press on with life. But sadly, there are over 100 lives that will not be at their desk or in their office here in Orlando - that number does not include the family members that are also affected. All of the names haven’t been released yet, so these tips may be helpful in the days to come.
1. Send an email to the entire organization and ask if anyone was directly affected by this weekend’s events. In the email, delegate a HR contact who they can go to for additional support. Do NOT refer them to the HR dept, it’s most critical to be intentional and specific in any “compassion action”.
2. Contact the family, or emergency contact of the victim – again, give them a direct contact to someone in HR. That HR person should have all of the benefits information at their fingertips to answer any questions.
3. Bring in grief counselors twice a week for at least the next two weeks. Create a safe space, i.e. a conference room, where coworkers can gather together to express themselves and not feel alone. Ask the counselors to provide helpful resources on managing grief.
4. Find a way to honor the person who is hospitalized/deceased. There are several ideas you can discuss collectively with your team. If you need guidance on this, feel free to contact me for suggestions.
5. Send an email to all staff with ways to show support within the community (www.weareorlando.org), and allow employees to take time to volunteer as needed. Or set aside a day this week where your company volunteers their time in honor of the employee lost.
6. Families of victims will also be affected, if a family member works within your organization offer them flexibility in their work schedule. (I.e. allow a part time work from home schedule.)
7. Send meals to the family.
8. Allow “grief breaks” – and openly communicate this to the entire organization.
9. Ask your managers to be aware of any employees who seem emotional distressed. Create a safe space for those employees, encourage them to not suppress their grief and utilize either community resources, counselors on site, or take a few days off (again, working from home is a great alternative).
10. Raise money for your employee, or send out an email campaign asking employees to donate to the GoFundMe that will help the victims and their families.
The most important thing to remember at this time is it is your responsibility to create a safe and supportive work environment, NOT your EAP (Employee Assistance Program). Your executive team, managers, supervisors, and colleagues should be mindful, intentional and helpful during this time.
(written June 13, 2016)