As a team of benefits strategists, we work hard every day to make sure we’re exceeding client expectations and providing the most innovative and value-generating plan designs and advisory services.
Just as the unexpected can occur in our everyday lives, unplanned events can hit the workplace – sometimes in unpleasant and catastrophic ways.
Recently, Apex received a call from a client requesting help after one of their employees suffered a heart attack while on the job. Although nearby coworkers tried to revive the employee, he unfortunately passed away while on site. Not surprisingly, coworkers of the deceased employee were upset, and those who were present during the event were devastated.
The incident occurred late on a Friday afternoon and the client immediately reached out to Apex for assistance. Our team contacted the carrier for Employee Assistance Program (EAP) information, but because it was so late in the day, they were doubtful they could have counselors at the client location that evening.
Fortunately, Sarah Michaels, RN and director of Population Health and Analytics at Apex, began looking for other local resources and offered to be at the client location within 15 minutes of the call to begin coordinating help with a local behavioral health provider. This is just one illustration of how the Apex team goes above and beyond to make sure clients are taken care of, regardless of day or time.
According to the 2019 Apex Benefits Employee Benefits Benchmarking Survey, 62 percent of Indiana employers offer EAPs; however, only 36 percent rate mental health resources as a high or moderately high priority for the upcoming year. We recognize mental health issues are not always easy topics to talk about in the workplace and that makes it even more important that employers offer EAP services.
Especially during times of crisis in the workplace, it’s important for organizations to have the resources of an EAP available. An EAP services provider will work to minimize the impact of the event and support recovery for the employees and the organization.
These programs are crucial to employee benefits plans because mental health effects such a large amount working adults. EAP facilitators can assist employees with problems large and small, from stress and depression to financial worries and legal concerns. (Read more in “Is Your Organization Hiding from Mental Health Issues?”)
EAPs are great resource for individuals to seek help during the early stages of a problem before it turns into something more serious. They also provide benefits to the employer, including lower absenteeism, less turnover and reduced health insurance plan costs.
Crisis Communication Planning
Crisis management is a critical organizational function and proactive planning is key to being able to resolve crisis situations in a manner that is in the best interest of your employees and the organization. Thoughtful preparation and a clear set of guidelines are key to effectively responding to and resolving crises.
The best way to prepare is to create and continually evaluate a Crisis Communications Plan that addresses any type of crisis that could occur at your organization, from death of a coworker to weather-related catastrophic events to threats of attacks from outside the organization.
Designate a team at your organization to develop the plan and be sure to include public relations and legal experts. Review the plan at least annually and conduct exercises to test the plan and the team.
If you’re a smaller organization, or otherwise do not have the expertise in-house, you may choose to work with an agency or independent consultant that specializes in crisis communications.