I am sure many of you have already read or heard the news about the riot in Vancouver yesterday. After reading posts from some business owners whose business premises were badly damaged and/or looted last night it led me to think about how the leaders or managers in these organizations will help employees deal with the effects at work. Also, how the business owners and managers deal with their own feelings about seeing all the hard work and effort that went into building an attractive and successful business treated with such violence and disrespect.
There are several points to consider in this:
Some of the businesses were open and employees were trapped in the buildings while the rioters broke windows, trashed the interiors and fittings and looted products. They likely experienced emotions ranging from fear to anger. Their families and friends may have been at home worrying about their safety.
Other employees may have been watching from home and wondering what this meant for the upcoming shifts, their income and what kind of damage they would have to face when they returned to work. The potential loss of income because their workplace was severely damaged may cause serious problems for employees that rely on each paycheque to manage. The uncertainty as to when they will again be scheduled to work, what might be asked of them in repairing and rebuilding the business and what the business leadership will do in response will be part of their thoughts in the coming days.
What Business Leaders and Managers Can Do
First acknowledge your own feelings regarding this and share this calmly with employees. If it is possible to hold an in person meeting with employees-do so and allow people to talk about their concerns. Answer questions that you have answers to and let them know approximately when you will be able to answer questions that you may not have answers to right away.
Include employees in the repair and rebuild process in any way possible-taking action to get back on track is encouraging and allows people to replace negative emotions with a sense of purpose and pride.
In circumstance where it isn't possible to meet in person with employees set up an online presence to post information and encourage and respond to questions and concerns.
Provide a clear and concise information sheet for employees detailing accurate information that they can share with others and to respond to customer inquiries.
What suggestions do you have for business leaders and managers? What have you done that has helped?