Charles Benayon

Founder & CEO of Aspiria


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4 Reasons Why You Need A Workplace Crisis Intervention Plan

pic_rippleeffectIn light of the recent events in La Loche, Saskatchewan, we are reminded of the importance of crisis intervention when disaster strikes and the problems that can arise. It is essential that workplaces think about implementing a crisis intervention plan. Crisis intervention refers to the methods that are used to offer immediate and short-term help to individuals who experience an event that generates emotional, mental, physical and behavioural distress or problems.

Employees who are not directly involved in the event can feel the ripple effect of a workplace trauma. Ensure your plan is inclusive of all your employees as any event can severely dampen (or hamper) the productivity of the workplace. With over 25 years of crisis intervention experience, I’d like to share with you 4 key reasons why you need crisis intervention in your workplace:

  1. Decreases the intensity of individuals’ reactions to a crisis, or return to their level of functioning before the crisis.

Research has demonstrated that crisis intervention training has positive outcomes such as decreased stress and improved problem solving. Decreasing the intensity of their reactions allows individuals to be able to cope with future difficulties. It aims to help in the prevention of serious long-term problems. This will have a positive impact on workplace performance and increase work life balance for your employees.

  1. Decreases the amount of absenteeism and potential turnover.

Individuals are more open to receiving help during a crisis. Crisis intervention is conducted in a supportive manner and the intervention’s duration is dependent on the person and situation. Adults and children alike can all benefit from this type of assistance, which can take place in a wide range of settings. Implementing this help following a crisis can be of benefit by decreasing the intensity of affected employees’ reaction to the event, resulting in less sick time, leaves of absences and/or terminations.

  1. Educates and encourages employees during times of crisis.

The success of crisis intervention is dependent on affected employees learning that their reactions to the event are real and that others are going through a similar experience (ie. validation). It is the goal for employees to learn that their responses to the abrupt and irregular crisis that has just occurred are predictable, temporary and normal (ie. normalization). It is encouraging and reassuring to employees to know that their employer cares. If management is seen as supportive, employees are more likely to succeed.

  1. Allow employees to explore and develop coping strategies.

The aftermath of a crisis can induce feelings that people are unable to deal with. Crisis intervention can help with coping strategies that allow for a positive workplace. It allows for options for social support or spending time with people who provide a feeling of comfort and caring. Reviewing the changes that an individual has made and proving that it is possible to cope, are beneficial to recovery.

The problem solving process involves:

  • Understanding the problem (validation and normalization) and the desired changes
  • Considering alternatives
  • Discussing the pros and cons of alternative solutions
  • Selecting a solution and developing a plan to try it out
  • Understanding that coping with crisis is a process that can take time
  • Evaluating the outcome

Making positive and realistic plans for the future whether in employees’ personal lives or at work is crucial and employers should be providing training for management to aid employees.

Are you prepared to manage a crisis situation? How would you accommodate your employees who are suffering and raise the awareness of treatment for this?


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8 Ways to Celebrate Multiculturalism in Your Workplace

multiculturalism-worldAs the debate around racism catches traction in the news with celebrities speaking up about #OscarsSoWhite and spreading awareness of its harmful effects on a global scale, let us not forget that racism is prevalent all over our world, and has an impact closer to home and on workplace harmony.

As managers, we all know how difficult it can be to discuss racism in the workplace, but here are a few supportive ways you might consider embracing your diverse workforce by incorporating the following into your employee programs.

 Providing a workspace that openly recognizes and respects diversity creates a welcoming environment while discouraging racism and other forms of discrimination. You can engage your staff in some or all of the following ways to celebrate various cultures in your workplace:

  1. Recognize and acknowledge special culture days and events such as Black History Month in February.
  2. Have a “Win a Lunch” draw at a local restaurant for Chinese New Year.
  3. Have your EAP provide diversity training to learn about the cultural backgrounds, lives and interests of employees outside of the workplace. Building relationships through increased understanding and trust helps to promote inclusion.
  4. Hold a Lunch-and-Learn on different cultures with the ethnic cuisine of the featured culture.
  5. Include opportunities for staff to interact in settings outside of work so that employees feel more comfortable. Be creative, flexible and look for new ways of socializing and team-building.
  6. Ensure all employees have the opportunity to take part in decision-making and planning for social activities.
  7. Ensure your company’s marketing and communication collateral incorporates multi-racial images, through brochures and your website to posters around the office.
  8. Be aware of and provide time off for culturally significant events. Consider offering a float day for employees to use at their discretion to participate in such events.

Honouring others’ differences will build a better, stronger team of employees. In workplaces that take the time for celebrating various cultures, people form stronger bonds with one another, learn tolerance, and develop greater loyalty toward the company. When hiring practices focus on ensuring a diverse employee pool, you find increased levels of resourcefulness, determination, and persistence.

Taking steps to support multiculturalism in your workplace will help keep your employees feeling safe while building a positive work environment. Celebrating diversity helps in preventing the issue from becoming a major problem.