Employers: Compassion is Key



Back in April, right here in this space, I advised small employers against making loans or “advances” for employees.

Then Irma happened.  So now I’m re-thinking all that.

I’m sure every single Floridian was affected by this storm: we either evacuated, lost power or know someone who did.  We all worried and feared for others as the track kept changing.

Now we are all dealing with the aftermath.  People are having to spend more on food and fuel, and many employees are looking at real damage, not all of it will be covered by insurance.

The financial stress on both business owners and employees will be immense.  But individual employees are more vulnerable than businesses so –employers- if your company can afford it, this is the time to be generous with time off, with resources (tools, internet, showers) and yes even a small loan or advance.

  • If you decide to make small loans available have a policy or an understanding about repayment and amount limits. (email me for sample wording).

Here are a few other suggestions and reminders for the days to come:

  • Find out who needs what -  The company and employees should be aware of each other’s needs.  Whose car was flooded? Whose roof is leaking? Who needs a place to stay, or supplies or fuel.
  • Speaking of fuel – Try buying a few $20 gas gift cards (or grocery gift cards) and making them available to employees who could use a break.
  • Try a “sharing box” or cabinet -  designate a space in the break room and have employees bring in items to share with other employees.  You can also have a “sharing bulletin board”, where people can offer items too big to bring in, (a generator, cooler) or services they can offer (a ride, helping to clean up, make repairs).
  • When appropriate, try to find humor in the situation.  We’ve been without power for almost a week and although it’s miserable, I have to laugh when I realize what I’m wearing after getting dressed in a dark closet, or that I’m having crackers, peanut butter and eggrolls as if it were a normal lunch. I’m sure everyone has a funny story.

Lastly, let’s pace ourselves.  The road to storm recovery is slow.  But we’ll get there. 


Orginally published on HR Box blog.


The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

Add new comment

Please enter the text you see in the image below: