Cultivating understanding, offering ongoing support, and ensuring a safe and compassionate environment go a long way. Below, we will look at ways to support your employees emotionally and psychologically during the current situation in Israel and Palestine.
1. Create a safe space for opening up
In times of crisis, catastrophe or conflict, showing colleagues that you care is essential. You can provide support by proactively addressing the situation.
Reach out to employees who are affected personally. Or take some time at the beginning of a 1-to-1 meeting to check in on how a colleague is doing on a personal level. Ask them how they are feeling. Listen, show empathy, and let them know you are there for them.
You can also open up the conversation in team meetings, sending a clear signal that it’s okay for everyone to talk about the situation and support one another.
2. Practise active listening
Everyone experiences emotions in their own way. A way to show compassion and listen to how someone feels without judgement is active listening. The most important thing is simply listening, resisting the urge to come up with solutions or to provide your opinion immediately. Be empathetic, try to understand what someone is saying without having your next question ready, and ask open questions without filling in.
You can also encourage other team members to do the same for their colleagues. Being there to listen can be very supportive and help to alleviate worries, feelings of overwhelm, or stress.
3. Acknowledge what happened
Whenever something happens that deeply impacts employees’ lives, it’s extremely important not to ignore its existence. Acknowledge the event and the difficulties that come along with it.
You can choose to send a message of support from the level of individual managers, HR, or higher management. Such a gesture will make your employees feel supported on a human level. Let staff members know how to reach out in case they’re looking for support.
4. Offer flexibility
In times of crisis, being in a flexible work environment is more important than ever. Offer flexible work schedules and deadlines for those affected. And if that’s not possible, try to find an arrangement for special leave.
If you have set ambitious targets or KPIs, arrange a meeting with your affected employees to discuss more reasonable expectations. And, if you notice an employee is distracted, struggling with their feelings, or having trouble meeting targets, approach the situation with the kindness and support you would like to receive if you were in their shoes.
Encourage people to take good care of their mental well-being. You could share this article with colleagues.
5. Offer resources for support
Devastating as it may be, some events have long-lasting consequences. Therefore, continuing to support your employees in the long-run is crucial. Just because some events may no longer be in the news doesn’t mean that they don’t affect employees’ lives anymore.
Continue to check in frequently, and encourage affected team members to talk to a professional.
If you notice that employees affected by the crisis are continuing to struggle with their mental well-being, provide them with resources for long-term support, like OpenUp.