The recent shooting in Orlando has affected so many within the community. It is important as an employer to recognize this tragedy and offer support to those employees directly affected.
The situation surrounding the shooting is not an easy topic to discuss. If you have avoided addressing the situation due to the sensitivity of the matter, this article can help.
- Address your company as a whole
You should discuss the topic with your whole company, no matter how difficult it may be. You can choose to do so by gathering everyone together (best if your company is small), having managers meet with their teams, or sending a company-wide email. The key here is to include everyone in the communications.
- Do not assume who may or may not be affected
As stated above, you must discuss the situation with everyone in the company. This particular situation deeply affected the LGT community. This does not mean you only speak to your employees who are known members of that community. What about your other employees? Victims of this tragedy have parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends that could be working at your company. These people need your support!
- Choose your words carefully and control the discussion
This situation brings about fear, anger, and personal beliefs in reference to sensitive topics such as religion, sexuality, gun control, and politics. It is important to choose your words carefully and control the discussion. It is recommended to provide a brief overview of the latest facts and refrain from any speculation or personal belief. It is also recommended to focus on the grief the situation brings to the community and express the company’s deepest sorrow to all victims, family members, and friends.
People may feel the need to openly speak up about the situation. This should be welcomed, but kept under control. Do your best to prevent a discussion that can quickly escalate into a political debate or the expression of personal beliefs that may be offensive to others.
- Offer support
It is most important to offer support to any employee that was affected by this tragedy. Make it known to everyone that the company is willing to discuss personal situations surrounding the shooting and will do its best to accommodate employees’ needs.
You can search for grief counselors or other community resources to direct employees to seek additional assistance.
- Allow for private conversations
Some employees may not feel comfortable speaking in front of the whole company. It is important to invite your employees to speak about this tragedy in private with their manager or HR representative.
- Allow for time off
If someone in your company has been directly affected, allow for time off. The amount of time off is up to the company and depends on the individual’s situation. Keep in mind that everyone grieves differently and allowing for time off can make a big difference.
If one of your employees was a victim of this tragedy
If one of your employees was a victim of this tragedy, it is important to address the company as mentioned above. In addition, you should recognize the loss of an employee and provide time for the information to settle. It may also be a good idea to have a grief counselor available on site.
In times like these it is important to show our greatest sympathies and support to those affected. As an employer, it is your responsibility to recognize and provide assistance to any employee in need. Unfortunately, not every affected employee will reach out. Addressing the issue with everyone will hopefully allow those affected to come forward if they are in need.
Stay strong Orlando!