How To Support an Employee Through a Traumatic Time

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article | How To Support an Employee Through a Traumatic Time

There are many different events that can count as traumatic, and it is important to realize that they don’t have to end in a fatality. Anyone who experiences a life-changing event may experience trauma in some way, and expecting one or more of your employees to ride the wave of emotions and continue their job role like nothing has happened is not a good or helpful move.

It is obvious that these individuals will need support while they are healing. This, in itself, is not a predefined time that is the same for everyone and they will require your patience and empathy while this process is taking place. However, there are some other things that you can do while this is taking place.

1. Listen to Your Employee

Although the hardest thing to do is to start a conversation with the traumatized person about the incident that has taken place, you may still need to do this. Rather than trying to ‘fix’ the trauma, you need to practice your listening skills, empathize not sympathize, and try to understand what your employee needs by ways of support and how your business can go about providing this.

As already discussed, the healing process time cannot be assumed, so thinking that your employee will be back to running at 100% within a couple weeks or so just because you feel they should be, may not be the case at all. Understanding all the different signs and side effects of trauma and stress could help you comprehend how your employee is feeling. It is important to realize that it is not just about the physical or emotional effects but there are also cognitive and social behaviours to look out for as well.

2. Ensure They Have the Legal Support

It is important that they have the right legal help and support as this can provide financial compensation that could help with medical costs and loss of earnings. Some individuals may feel that they can’t afford legal representation or that they just want the event to not have happened.

In the event of a road traffic accident, for instance, injuries are likely to be ongoing and could result in loss of earnings. These all add up especially when you take into account the mental damage and trust issues that your employee may have when either getting into another vehicle or sitting behind the wheel. However, having an experienced and qualified car accident lawyer acting on their behalf could elevate some of the weight from their shoulders and allow them to focus on themselves rather than on the rising costs that they are likely to be encountering.

3. Help Them Manage Their Work Routine

Although they may certainly not be top of their game, they will benefit from keeping to some form of routine. You may need to change their working hours to more suitable timings for them and their new regimes or even offer them the opportunity to work from home either temporarily or for the foreseeable future. This will help them keep money coming in and provide them with some sort of normality at a time when their lives feel upside down and chaotic.

Of course, with your employee working away from the office you will need to put in some extra effort to ensure that they do not feel alone and isolated. Investing in good reliable communication software so that they can stay in their social bubble at work even though they are not on site and checking in regularly with them yourself could go a long to bridging the gap. You could also change the way that you hold relevant meetings to include video links so that the employee can still attend the meetings that they need to and can continue to work in a manner that they are used to doing.

A Few Final Thoughts

When an employee suffers a traumatic event, you need to understand that it will also affect your business. Being patient with your employees’ abilities and concentration levels while also being prepared to listen to the employee will show that you are supportive in their healing process.

However, you could go that much further and offer them legal advice – if they haven’t sought it themselves and provide them with an adjusted working day. This could be changing their hours or even offering remote working for those who are unduly struggling to make the journey from home to work. Of course, you will have to put in more effort to ensure that they still feel connected and not ostracized by regularly checking in with them and perhaps investing in quality communication software so that other employees can also stay in contact with them.