Many business continuity, disaster recovery, emergency response and crisis management programs currently utilize some sort of automated notification tool to alert employees of an incident and/or to call them to action following a disaster. I have written past blogs about being careful with what you say in the recorded message being used for this notification because you can never be quite sure who is listening to the message – but, now, I want to know if you are making sure you also use this tool to ask, “Are you okay?”
I often hear business continuity and disaster recovery planners remind employees that job one is to ensure the health and welfare of employees and job two is to recover business operations and the tools to support them. I think it is important to practice what we preach and to construct our emergency messages in the same vain. I think it would be nice to first put in some information on how the company can help the employee, if they need, prior to asking the employee to help the company by engaging their recovery plans.
And, this does not just apply to messages being recorded (or typed) for the automated notification systems. If your program still relies on phone call trees, I think it is a good idea to include this verbiage in a suggested script to be used for these calls.
Furthermore, I think it is important to keep the “Are you okay?” mantra going throughout the recovery effort. I think it is important to do more than just make sure that employees know how to contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), but to also make that ask throughout the effort. Not only should you help keep the employee okay by enforcing shift limits and making sure no one over does it in their anxiety to help the company through a tough time – but you need to make the ask. Ask them if they are okay before they show signs that indicate otherwise.
And, finally, that same ask should be made after the incident is over. There are many emergency response programs that require a mental health recovery period following participation in an incident. You may want to consider a similar policy for certain members of your emergency response, crisis management, business continuity and/or disaster recovery teams.
Making sure the employees are okay during and throughout an emergency may require more than what your EAP has to offer. There are companies out there that provide at time of disaster mental health assistance that can be on-site to help identify problems and help resolve issues when they arise. You should consider including these types of companies in your program directories. One such company, Empathia, is included in the My Links section of this blog page – but there are others, as well.
Just a thought. And, I hope this blog finds you OK!