Life happens and sometimes, it isn’t good. Our employees have lives outside of our office and every once in a while, their lives get disrupted with a disaster or crisis.
What policies and programs do you have in place to support them through a tough time? At my agency, we’d always reacted on a “as needed” basis but a book I recently read got me thinking about creating a broader policy so my team would know they could count on me if something hit the fan.
I’ll be curious what you think of this idea.

View Video Transcript

Hey everybody, Drew McLellan here from Agency Management Institute, this week, coming to you from Wilderness Lodge at Disney property in Orlando, Florida. Ironically, I was reading Bob Iger, who is now the chair of Disney, his autobiography called, “A Ride of a Lifetime” or “The Ride of a Lifetime”, which is an excellent leadership book on the plane down here. And one of the things he was talking about is the system or the process that Disney has developed to make sure that they are keeping track of their employees in relation to crisis. So whether it’s a natural crisis like a hurricane or a tornado or it’s a crisis like the shooting at the Pulse Nightclub or the shooting in Las Vegas, Disney has a way of finding out very quickly if any of their employees or their families have been impacted by these crises. And then they have mental health experts, crisis counselors, things like that, that they immediately deploy to help their cast members get through whatever that crisis is. And sometimes it’s counseling, sometimes it’s making sure they have a place to sleep because their house has been damaged in a natural disaster whatever it is, Disney rises to that occasion and supports their employee throughout that disaster. Then it occurred to me, if they can do that for hundreds of thousands of employees, we probably can and should have a policy in place for how we support our employees when they are in crisis. So that may be as simple as having access to mental health counseling help for your employees. Certainly a lot of us have tapped into that over the last year as we worked our way through the pandemic. It might be having a policy around providing resources to someone who’s had a house fire or some other disaster. For example, many years ago, we had an employee who lost to a chronic disease his young daughter, and we knew that we needed to do something more than just show up at the funeral or send flowers and so we put a policy in place that we would help with the funeral expenses for any of our employees who lost an immediate family member. And it felt good and right to do that for him. And so in our case, it didn’t occur to me that we needed to have that kind of policy until something happened. I wish I had thought about it in advance and I wish it had already been on the books. But now is the opportunity for us to come up with policies and procedures that take great care of our employees and let them know that if they are in any sort of situation where they’re not at their best, where their families are at risk, where they’ve been hurt mentally or physically that we are going to come to their aid and help them and support them in that. I love that idea and I figured if Disney can do it for as many employees as they have around the globe, we certainly can do it for our agencies. So give that some thought, think about how you might bake that into your policies or procedures and begin to identify the resources before you need them. All right? I hope that was helpful. I’ll see you next week.

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