Read: 46% of U.S. Employers Offer Workplace Injury Support
In a crisis, it is important to know what kind of support employees need because everyone’s circumstances can be different, whether it is knowing their housing situation, whether their families are safe or whether they are safe. ‘they need help connecting to emergency services, says Garaba. However, when events like this do occur, flexibility is the # 1 support employers can offer employees, she adds, noting that SAP has different leave programs that staff can take advantage of to help themselves. take care of their personal affairs.
Employers should also remember that people experience trauma when faced with crises, such as natural disasters or the current coronavirus pandemic, Garaba says. âWe have a fantastic employee assistance program that provides 24/7 access to qualified advisors. “
Read: Have your say: Should employers offer a climate-related leave policy?
It’s important to constantly communicate the programs and benefits available to employees during turbulent times, says Paula Allen, global leader and senior vice president of research and total wellness at LifeWorks Inc. When under pressure , people may not register what resources are available to them, but with repeated messages it will ring later, she adds.
Access to mental health benefits or an EAP can also be essential in an emergency, says Allen, noting that employers can initiate crisis support by asking their EAP provider to help them facilitate the crisis. awareness or debriefing of specific traumas for employees. Providers can also help employers communicate other information, such as how to support children in times of crisis or how to coach managers to be supportive and flexible with employees.
SAP’s Vancouver office has a crisis management team that is responsible for assessing how best to support employees, Garaba explains. Although it has been around for 10 years, the team’s importance and effectiveness have only increased significantly since the onset of the global pandemic.
To read: Supporting an employee in the event of trauma
Since the start of the global pandemic, North America and the world have seen their share of natural disasters – from earthquakes and floods to forest fires – so it’s no surprise that some employees may be anxious about climate change and a sustainable environment, she adds.
âWe have found that the best way to help employees anxious about climate change and sustainability is to involve them so that they are part of the solution,â Garaba says, noting that it also helps them become more committed, innovative and passionate in their own roles.
And SAP doesn’t just talk, it walks the track when it comes to climate change issues. The organization has completely phased out the use of single-use plastics in all of its Canadian offices and has employee-led green teams in almost all of its locations that focus on sustainability efforts. The teams have organized several series on steps employees can take at home and at work to make their lives more environmentally sustainable, with SAP also bringing in experts to comment on the topic.
In Montreal, SAP recently moved from two offices to a brand new building. In the process of the move, the organization decided not to replace floors and ceilings in order to reduce the amount of construction waste, Garaba explains.
Read: SAP Canada Piloting Data-Driven Office Design For Hybrid Workforce
Goal-oriented work can also help build a lasting relationship between employers and their employees, she notes, especially when staff know their companies are implementing their environmental, social and governance commitments.
Allen agrees, noting that focusing on ESG issues is vital to employer attraction and retention efforts. âEmployees want to know that the companies they work for are, at the very least, doing no harm. “
Plus, she says, organizations are realizing that they may not have put issues like diversity, equity and inclusion or employee well-being on the agenda enough. . âBut as we slowly discover what this new world of work looks like, many information points indicate. . . do the right thing and. . . creating lasting change will make a difference for employers in terms of retaining or attracting top talent.
Read: Nike publishes new DEI targets, links executive compensation to broader ESG efforts