WHAT WAS THE SITUATION, ISSUE, OR EVENT THAT INITIATED THIS OPPORTUNITY?
Hurricane Katrina struck the Mississippi and Louisiana coast in late August of 2005 crippling the business infrastructure for months. One company, a 1200 employee manufacturing business, took two blows that day. The company had a large manufacturing plant on the worst hit part of the Mississippi coast and their corporate headquarters in New Orleans was incapacitated due to the flooding. With a backlog of orders, it was imperative that they resume operations as soon as possible. The corporate staff and their families were moved to a recovery center in Dallas to begin operations again while manufacturing personnel in Mississippi began efforts to re-open the plant. Most of the staff from their call center were relocated to Denver and Phoenix. Meanwhile, most employees sustained significant loss of property and separation from family and community.
WHAT DID WE DO?
ORI staff was on location in Dallas, TX;, Long Beach, MS; Denver, CO; Phoenix, AZ; and New Orleans, LA. We initially worked with senior management in assessing the needs of staff at all sites. The focus was helping them get "their arms around" all of the potential human impact issues and establishing a comprehensive plan to address them. This included:
- Educating managers as to the effects of traumatic stress and loss
- Consultation on "return-to-work" issues
- Meeting with groups of employees to educate them, gather feedback on their needs and arising issues
- Family meetings and discussions around stress, dealing with children after a disaster and developing a sense of community connection and support
- Consultation to management on use of their employee assistance fund
- Developing a corporate crisis response team to address the developing needs of their employees such as transportation, storage, medical, and psychological attention
HOW DID WE ADD AND MEASURE VALUE TO THE CLIENT?
By addressing all of the human impact needs of employees in a comprehensive and integrated way this company maintained staff with minimal turnover, had more productive staff and was the first major manufacturer to re-open in the Gulf Coast after Katrina. The CEO was interviewed numerous times in the national media for his exemplary response and care for his people and employees viewed the response as highly effective and with great concern for the people, which increased employee engagement and loyalty.
WHO ARE THE ORI EXPERTS?
Jeff Weir, MA, Guy Sapirstein, Ph.D., Kevin Becker, Ph.D., and a host of colleagues who share their expertise when requested.