Read: 46% of U.S. employers offer workplace trauma assistance
In a crisis, it’s important to know what kind of support employees need, as everyone’s circumstances may be different, whether it’s inquiring about their housing situation, whether their families are safe, or if they need help connecting to emergency services, Garaba says. However, when events like this happen, flexibility is the No. 1 support employers can offer employees, she adds, noting that SAP offers different leave programs that staff can take advantage of to help themselves. take care of personal matters.
Employers also need to remember that people experience trauma when faced with crises, such as natural disasters or the current coronavirus pandemic, Garaba says. “We have a fantastic employee assistance program that provides 24/7 access to trained counsellors.”
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It’s important to continually communicate the programs and benefits that are available to employees during tumultuous times, says Paula Allen, global leader and senior vice president of research and total wellness at LifeWorks Inc. When they are under pressure, people may not register what resources are available to them, but with repeated messages they will ring later, she adds.
Access to mental health benefits or an EAP can also be essential in an emergency, Allen says, noting that employers can initiate crisis support by asking their EAP provider to help them facilitate the sensitization or debriefing of specific traumas for employees. Providers can also help employers communicate other information, such as how to support children in times of crisis or how to train managers to be supportive and flexible with employees.
SAP’s Vancouver office has a crisis management team to assess how best to support employees, Garaba says. Although it has been around for 10 years, the importance and effectiveness of the team has only grown significantly since the start of the global pandemic.
Read: Supporting an employee through trauma
Since the start of the global pandemic, North America and the world have experienced their share of natural disasters – from earthquakes to floods to wildfires – so it’s no surprise that some employees may have anxiety related to climate change and environmental sustainability, she adds.
“We’ve found that the best way to help employees with climate change and sustainability anxiety is to engage them so they’re part of the solution,” says Garaba, noting that it also helps them become more engaged. , innovative and passionate in their own roles.
And SAP isn’t just talking, it’s leading the charge when it comes to climate change issues. The organization has completely phased out the use of single-use plastics in all of its Canadian offices and has employee-led green teams in nearly all of its locations that focus on sustainability efforts. The teams conducted several series on steps employees can take at home and at work to make their lives more environmentally sustainable, with SAP also bringing in experts to speak on the subject.
In Montreal, SAP recently moved two offices into a brand new building. During the move, the organization decided not to replace the floors and ceilings in order to reduce the amount of construction waste, says Garaba.
Read: SAP Canada pilots data-driven desktop design for a hybrid workforce
Goal-oriented work can also help build a lasting relationship between employers and their employees, she notes, especially when staff know that their companies are putting actions behind their environmental, social and governance commitments.
Allen agrees, noting that focusing on ESG issues is vital to employer attraction and retention efforts. “Employees want to know that the companies they work for are doing no harm, at the very least.”
Additionally, she says, organizations are realizing that they may not have placed issues like diversity, equity and inclusion or employee well-being on the agenda enough. . “But as we slowly discover what this new world of work looks like, there are several news outlets saying . . . doing the right thing and . . . creating lasting change is going to make a difference for employers. in terms of retaining or attracting top talent.”
Read: Nike releases new DEI goals and ties executive compensation to broader ESG efforts