This week’s horrific and incomprehensible events have created an unprecedented level of fear, distraction, empathy and anger among people throughout the nation. Against this backdrop the concept of employee engagement has been changed, probably forever. As one senior executive told us, “We cannot go back to Monday, September 10 when we were working hard to push revenues.”
The need to listen to, adapt to and respect the wishes of employees is essential to regaining our collective “center of gravity.”
CEOs need to provide a sense of calm and reassurance—as employees look to them for leadership, empathy and confidence—through numerous messages via voice mail, e-mail, websites, and simply by being visible during this national crisis. CEOs also need to help managers and supervisors balance personal, managerial and organizational needs.
Companies are simultaneously trying to provide opportunities for employees to grieve and process the events—through religious services and counseling—and tangible ways to get involved through blood drives, humanitarian efforts, and charitable giving.
From a policy standpoint, safety, security, and travel, are all paramount topics on which employees need to get assurance and guidance for action and behavior.
Over the last few years, many companies have stopped communicating to employees at home because they fear they may be violating their people’s personal time. For some companies, that policy is being rethought given recent events, since families need to be reassured about their loved ones’ safety and security at work.