How Managers Should Plan To Respond to Terror

What to expect:

In the aftermath of a terrorist attack employees may fear working in tall buildings, especially landmarks. They will fear taking planes. Many will suffer from a general malaise and anxiety. Expect an overall decrease in productivity, an increase in hallway conversations and a desire to listen to the news. Expect increased absenteeism and late arrivals.

Employees perceived as being from certain ethnic and religious groups arelikely to fear blame. Some might actually be harassed.

Anticipate the need for grief counseling and immediate financial support in the case of people affected directly by an attack. Talk to your legal staff about any potential legal or insurance liabilities.

Expect a slowdown in recruiting and turnover because few people will be moving or looking during this uncertain period.

What to do:

Keeping people busy is important because it keeps their minds off of currentevents so urge employees to get back into their routine immediately.

Educate managers about possible anxiety problems and employee concerns. Urge managers to talk directly to their employees about these issues and respond rapidly to their requests.

Designate an HR person to be the primary contact for issues related to the event. Provide onsite or telephone counseling for anxiety. If individual workers are clearly being disruptive (because of their anxiety) send them to counseling or home.

Add an information section to your website which covers issues related to thisevent. Allow workers to take time off to work for charities or to give blood, in order to meet their need to "do something" to help.

Contact your employees in international locations. Ask them what they need andrespond rapidly to the requests.

Encourage employees who see harassment to report it immediately. Remind employees of the penalties for harassment. Assign an HR professional to handlethese cases and identify any employees that may be "at risk" of harassment.

Be more flexible in requests for using sick leave and vacation for the next week. Allow workers time to call friends and relatives and to talk out their concerns. Allow stressed workers to work at home or to use sick days until their anxieties subside.

Allow workers to postpone or cancel immediate business trips that require
commercial flights. Cancel or postpone upcoming conferences or events that may require a large number of people to fly commercial carriers.

Involve workers in the process of alleviating anxiety in order to lessen their fears and to get their "ownership" of the problem.

Contact your employee assistance program vendor to see what services they offer and if they are gearing up for the extra counseling that will be needed.

If you have people missing be prepared to offer immediate financial and counseling support to the families.

Review and upgrade your disaster plan.

Source Johnny Sullivan

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