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WORKPLACE CRISIS: How to Establish an On-Site Crisis Management Team

by Mark D. Lerner, Ph.D.

Chairman, The National Center for Emotional Wellness

It’s not a matter of IF, but WHEN.

In the event of a crisis involving a sudden death, a serious illness, an accident, a threat of violence, a criminal act, a public health crisis, a natural disaster or other tragedy, what will you do to keep people functioning?

During a crisis, people turn to trusted friends and colleagues for support. It’s easier to talk to those we know, members of the organizational family, than “strangers with name tags.” Notwithstanding these caregivers’ efforts, the magnitude of overwhelming events often taxes individuals and their families, and compromises an organization’s ability to function.

An on-site Crisis Management Team (CMT) can:

• ease emotional pain

• keep people functioning

• mitigate ongoing suffering, and

• restore “human stability.”

Program Overview

When an overwhelming event impacts your organization, a CMT will be prepared and be responsive to the emergent needs of employees. The following describes how this will be executed:

1. Be Prepared

After utilizing an effective strategy for identifying the “go-to” people within your organization, the trainer will conduct a dynamic interactive workshop with this identified group. He/She will train them to effectively respond, with practical information, guidance and support. By developing and enhancing peer caregivers’ repertoire of helping skills, your business can draw upon its own resources to be prepared.

2. Be Responsive

CMT members will learn specific strategies that will empower them to help others during times of crisis. These include:

1. Acute Traumatic Stress Management (ATSM)—to address emergent needs.

2. Large group information, education and support for employees.

3. Small group crisis support.

4. Referral to mental health providers.

5. Post critical incident seminar—for ongoing discussion and support, when needed, months after the incident.

Why Organizations & Corporations Need This Program

Research has demonstrated that the best help early on is rendered by trained and empowered peers, not by strangers. Following this program, your organization will have an CMT in place—a small investment from your training budget that will ultimately protect your organization’s greatest asset—its people.

This program will not only save your business thousands of dollars in lost productivity per employee, but will also help to lessen the psychological damage and feelings of loneliness employees experience in the aftermath of a crisis. By reaching members of your organizational family early, we can ease emotional pain, keep people functioning, lessen the likelihood of ongoing suffering and restore stability in your organization.

The Benefits of Establishing an Organizational Crisis Management Team:

• Ease Emotional Pain

• Keep People Functioning

• Mitigate Ongoing Suffering

• Improve Communication

• Increase Morale and Group Cohesiveness

• Make Better Decisions

• Have Fewer Medical Claims

• Reduce Mental Health and Substance Abuse Costs

• Decrease in Workers’ Compensation, Disability Claims and Litigation

• Reduce Absenteeism

• Retain Effective Employees

• Lower Recruitment and Retraining Costs

• Strengthen Relationships Among Employees & Management

• Maintain Corporate Productivity

• Grow from Adversity

For information about organizational training, contact the National Center.

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