Helping Your Employees in a Time of Crisis

Amy M. lives in Utah, which is pretty far from Boston. Still, the events of Monday’s bombing shook her deeply. It “was just a really hard day emotionally for me,” she explains. If you were Amy M.’s boss, would you have expected that a tragedy across the continent would affect her so deeply?

Well, you might, if you knew that one of her children’s teachers was running in the Boston Marathon, and while uninjured, was between the two bombs. In addition, Amy is a runner herself, having completed a couple of marathons. To add to the sadness, on the same day as the Boston tragedy, a friend of hers was killed in a car accident, leaving behind a pregnant wife and five children.

To keep reading, click here: Helping your employees in a time of crisis

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9 thoughts on “Helping Your Employees in a Time of Crisis

  1. Great timing. I’m in Florida and one of my employees ran the marathon for the first time. She did very well and finished about 2 hours before the explosions. She was a block away from them and thankfully safe, but it took us a while to connect. This has been a big deal for her, she trained so hard and my team of 40 was invested in supporting her every step of the way.

    The emotions that ran through our staff on Monday was extremely high. However, I’m most concerned about my runner who is conflicted with the joy of achieving a goal years in the making and being devastated about the victims.

    Thanks for delivering this message, Suzanne. It can make a real difference.

  2. “Going to the funeral of someone you’ve never met, just because it is important to show support to your employee.” This hit home with me. My father died suddenly and the only person to come to the funeral was a coworker. My coworker remarked that she couldn’t believe my boss didn’t come. I actually didn’t expect even my coworker to come but had my boss showed up it would have been so very supportive of her. And greatly appreciated.

    1. This is so interesting because I would NEVER want my boss to come to a family funeral, especially of a relative he never met. I am a very private person and do not wish to share my grief with people I work with. But I can see how other people would feel the opposite.

      1. Anon,

        I’m the same as you, actually. But, lots of people would appreciate it.

    2. I didn’t want my coworkers to come to the funeral of my grandfather, which I indicated when I didn’t even tell them when it was, but I was hurt when they couldn’t even get a card.

      However my father appreciated some of his coworkers and even people at places he worked AT not even for or with, came to the funeral or sent flowers or food.

      It depends on the person and the company culture in these kinds of events what to do or offer.

      1. I am with Anon, I would not want my boss at a family funeral (half my family is Amish, he would be the only non-German/Dutchy speaker and unable to talk to anyone or understand the service). But a card, even an email saying “my sincere condolences on your loss” would not have gone amiss.

        My grandmother’s funeral was this past weekend. I set my Out Of Office greetings/auto-replies to say, “I will be out until April 23rd on bereavement leave, please contact Boss at # for immediate requests.” My boss then called me on my cell phone, repeatedly, in the middle of the Saturday afternoon service…to ask when I would get a bunch of work orders done, which I can only do when I’m in front of my computer, and which could have waited for Tuesday. Apart from the timing being appalling, he knew I was going to be in Pennsyltucky without a high-speed internet connection (holy smokes, I didn’t even have *electricity*!), which means no work gets done, period.

  3. Thank you, that is great advice! Bosses sometimes need reminding that their employees are not cogs in a machine, but human beings with human issues. It’s easy to tell someone to ‘leave your feelings/personal life in the parking lot before entering the building’ but not very practical. And an employee who knows that you are understanding about their situation will provide much more loyalty to you in the long run. After all, you want someone to show compassion and empathy to you when needed.

  4. I’ve never worked where management was composed of “decent human beings” who would be considerate in a crisis. I look forward to it some day.

  5. The worst place I ever worked at was amazingly decent when my dad was dying. I had been there only a few months when my dad’s cancer came back. I got a ticket from Miami to Wisconsin, where he was in the hospital, then told my boss’ boss that I didn’t care if they fired me, but I was going. This was at a place where I got to work at 7 a.m. and usually left at 7 p.m. or later and was counseled for leaving at 6 day. For leaving at 6. Not for not doing my work but for leaving.

    Anyhow, not only did they not fire me, but they paid me for the two weeks that I was away. I was shocked and impressed.

    Didn’t keep me there, though. As soon as I found a better job, I was gone. But I was and still am grateful for that.

    (PS Lady in the travel office, if someone calls you sobbing and asking for a ticket as soon as possible to see her dying father, don’t laugh, thinking it’s a joke. 1. It’s not a joke. 2. If someone would joke about something like that, she doesn’t deserve laughter.)

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