Benefits

What the Orlando Nightclub Shooting Can Teach Managers About Helping Employees Through Tragedy

June 22, 2016

On June 12, a devastating event occurred inside Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida when a gunman opened fire, killing 49 people and wounding many more. While those far and wide have been personally affected by this tragedy in some way or another, you may think this incident does not directly affect your business. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. 

Your employees may have ties to the place where the shooting occurred or know someone who was there that night. They also may feel especially touched by this tragedy for any of a number of reasons.

External factors can affect workplace performance
Incidents of violence, no matter where they occur, can create stress and depression in people that, in turn, affects the work place. 

But it’s not just unpredictable external events that can lead to employee distress. Consider other ways forces outside the office can affect workplace performance: 

  • In a recent study, 47 percent of all employees reported that the stress of a personal problem has impacted their work performance.
  • The indirect costs to the employer of poor employee health can be two to three times higher than the direct medical costs of dealing with these issues. Indirect costs include workplace absenteeism, disability and lost performance.

How you, as an employer, can help
You may ask yourself what you can possibly do for your employees to help them overcome situations outside the workplace, for both their health and the success of your business.  One of the best resources small to midsize businesses (SMBs) can offer their employees is an employee assistance program (EAP).

An EAP is a worksite-based program that can be of tremendous benefit when it comes to helping your employees work through a host of issues – whether they are of a personal nature, work-related or the result of a national tragedy such as the one in Orlando.  

What an EAP can do for your employees
Here are just a few of the services EAPs provide:

  • Mental health services and referrals.
  • Drug and alcohol services and referrals.
  • Services and referrals related to divorce, parenting and other personal relationship issues.
  • Information on work/life support, such as caregiving for elderly parents and financial planning.
  • Wellness and health promotion, including smoking cessation and weight-loss programs.
  • Work-related support, such as career counseling.

EAP services also extend to the employer
Offering an EAP can be a win/win for both you, as an employer, and your staff. Employer services may include:

  • Education on handling mental health, stress and addiction in the workplace.
  • Help addressing workplace violence.
  • Safety and emergency preparedness.
  • Guidance on communicating during difficult employment situations, such as mergers, layoffs or help when an employee dies on the job.
  • Employee absence management.
  • Meeting the needs of specific groups of workers, such as veterans. 

Why EAPs are perfect for SMBs
An EAP is one of the most cost-effective ways you can help your employees.  An EAP allows businesses that are too small to employ full-time staff trained in crisis management to still give their employees on-demand access to the services they need. And they can do so at a dramatic cost-savings. The average annual cost of an EAP program can be as low as $18 to $40 per employee.  The investment is worth it: for each dollar spent, employers generally save from $10 to $26 per employee, according to the Department of Labor.

In a time when tragedy takes over the conversation, an EAP can help your employees rise above the tide of emotion and keep your workplace a productive and engaging place. Contact TriNet to find out if an EAP is right for you.

This communication is for informational purposes only; it is not legal, tax or accounting advice; and is not an offer to sell, buy or procure insurance.

This post may contain hyperlinks to websites operated by parties other than TriNet. Such hyperlinks are provided for reference only. TriNet does not control such web sites and is not responsible for their content. Inclusion of such hyperlinks on TriNet.com does not necessarily imply any endorsement of the material on such websites or association with their operators.

By Janice Scherwitz

Janice Scherwitz is a benefits compliance analyst at TriNet.

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