WHAT IF TRAUMA TOUCHES YOUR WORKPLACE?

WHAT IF TRAUMA TOUCHES YOUR WORKPLACE?

This weekend's deadly shootings have highlighted the need for Human Resources professionals and company officers to prepare their staffs to handle workplace trauma. As the weekend's events have shown, any company, in a moment, could be dealing with loss at their workplace.

The deaths of the victims of this weekend's violence will touch the lives of many others. Family, relatives, and friends of the deceased and injured will experience deep grief. What if they worked for your company? Perhaps one of their extended circle of family or friends does work for your company. Would you be prepared to provide support? Would you know what to say or do? Would your staff know how to be with the grieving individual? Would your employee manual or company policy cover such circumstances?

Are you prepared?

Trauma is one of the most difficult workplace events for managers to deal with positively, proactively, and productively. Many managers feel that training is not necessary unless there is an event, such as an employee's death occurring in their the workplace, and they do not prepare.

With trauma, it is not a question of whether or not it will hit your company; it is a question of when. My advice as a business coach is to be prepared for when. My newly published workbook entitled "Workplace Trauma Solutions - A Workbook for Managers" guides you step-by-step so that you and your staff are ready to deal with trauma, grief, and loss. Read more at https://www.griefcoaching.com/workplace-trauma-solutions-workbook/ 

I offer professional workplace trauma solutions with a human resources and manager focus from early stages to late stages of trauma, grief, and loss. My process is compassionate and in-depth. After an initial consultation, I prepare a tailored program based on your specific needs. Coaching encompasses one-to-one manager or staff member training or the entire team or company. If you are interested in setting up a training class or Lunch & Learn at your office, contact me at www.WorkplaceTraumaSolutions.com or 551-800-1127..

A New Employee’s Serious Illness Dilemma

A New Employee’s Serious Illness Dilemma

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Cheryl Corin-Bonder who, as a new employee at a small company discovered she had a serious blood disorder, which resulted in the need for extended days off and a stem cell transplant.  Cheryl was devastated by the lack of support, compassion and the decisions the company made.

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Double Grief – a Beloved Pet and a Cherished Grandmother

Double Grief – a Beloved Pet and a Cherished Grandmother

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Pamela Putman talks about the lack of understanding and support two different companies showed during two different losses in her life and how each company could have handled the employee’s need for understanding and leave time in a more compassionate & practical way. 

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The Sudden Loss of a Husband

April Ford talks about the sudden loss of her husband who also worked in the same department at Intel.  April discusses how having an advocate at her company helped her navigate through corporate policy.Coach Linda explores how April's experience impacted her work at Intel and why she subsequently left that position to start a new …
The Devastating Impact of September 11th Years Later​

The Devastating Impact of September 11th Years Later​

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Carrie Green talks about her experience watching the World Trade Center Towers fall on September 11th and the aftermath of helping those crossing the Hudson River to escape the horrors of that fateful day. 

As someone who worked in the World Trade Center as well as for the New York Stock Exchange, she and her fellow employees felt the events of that day on a very personal level. Carrie knew many people in the area around the Trade Center that day who traveled daily into New York City. In addition to that, her boss had been at Cantor Fitzgerald the day before conducting business in the Center. 

She and her fellow employees watched as the awful events unfolded from the big beautiful picture windows overlooking the Hudson River from their Jersey City, NJ office. Carrie talks about watching the first tower fall, objects falling from the building, which she later would know, were people jumping to escape the flames and 29 minutes later watching the second tower fall. 
Carrie outlines some crucial.

Carrie outlines some crucial points for managers to understand about grief and about handling an ongoing crisis in the workplace. Her company did many things that reflect a caring, compassionate attitude that helps employees handle crisis and grief. 

First, the company banded its employees together to offer much-needed community service to the individuals crossing the Hudson River to escape the unfolding events in lower Manhattan. The company employees felt some comfort themselves just being able to help others in need.

Second, it’s apparent from Carrie’s recollection of the event of 9/11, that often, grief and the feelings associated with pain don’t just “go away” even though a significant amount of time has passed. Some wounds don’t heal. They become more manageable but the feelings don’t leave. That is an important message for managers. Trauma stays with us and its important for managers to really understand that fact is an asset to the company and the employees. Managers who are equipped to handle those recurrent times are much better managers for it.

Third, while Carrie describes how offering help to those coming from Manhattan evolved, it is apparent that having an emergency plan in place to handle a grief or trauma situation BEFORE the need arises would be a tremendous asset to the company and its employees. While your company may not need a plan that encompasses the scale of September 11th, you can’t be sure that your company won’t be the one to experience workplace violence or the death of an employee or the aftermath of a hurricane that devastates your city. Putting a plan together that designates one person to take charge, to make decisions is not only possible but advisable.

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GRIEVING THE LOSS OF A CHILD TO DRUGS

GRIEVING THE LOSS OF A CHILD TO DRUGS

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Jeffery Veatch talks about living with the painful loss of his son Justin, a talented musician who tragically died of an accidental drug overdose at the age of seventeen and how he and his wife, Marina struggled with surviving.

He describes the unbearable moments he experienced after reaching work early one morning and being told to return home immediately. He doesn’t know how he was able to drive home that fateful morning but goes on to describe pulling up to his home and seeing the coroner’s van in his driveway and viewing his son’s body.

Jeffery talks about Justin’s normal, happy childhood and how his passion and talent for music grew with him into his teen years. When Justin slipped into drug experimentation and addiction, his parents did all they could to support and keep him out of drugs.

Today, he honors his son by taking the love he has for Justin and sharing his story as a way to keep others from the same fate. Through a foundation set up in Justin’s honor, speaking to young adults, and sharing the beautiful music his son wrote and recorded, Jeffery and his family are making a difference in the midst of one of the worst drug crises we have experienced as a nation.

"You have put together such a powerful message in Justin's honor. I am just amazed at how you have been able to do that. I can't even imagine how many lives you touched and saved based on the work you are doing."     Linda Trignano, Podcaster - Workplace Trauma Solutions

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Jeffery produced a film which took two and half years to finish. It’s called “Whispering Spirits”,  named after one of Justin’s songs.  We got a grant to make it available to people anywhere in the country such as teachers and other groups that could hold a film screening and then have a discussion afterward about the situations surrounding drug use and loss. Jeffery said the file has become a tool that he and his family are very proud of. We offer the film free of charge because we didn’t want to ever make any money off it. Anyone who goes to the website www.whisperingspirits.com cannot only watch the film but if they’re going to show it in a community format, they can get a copy of it free of charge, and there’s a discussion guide goes with it.

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DOWNSIZING GRIEF TAKES ITS TOLL

DOWNSIZING GRIEF TAKES ITS TOLL

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Pat Werscherl talks about how downsizing affected her and her team, which she considered to be like family. During a large corporate merger and subsequent layoffs, Pat and her team experienced many of the emotions associated with grief. She talks about the denial that the company would actually be sold and the anger she experienced when the sale was completed to finally accepting the changes.

"We went through the grieving process. First there was this denial like well maybe they’d change their mind. Just constant rumors. So you went through the denial, and of course, then there was the anger. “Look what we've contributed to the company for all these years”; Look at the good service we’ve given to them".


Pat Werscherl
Corporate Manager
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The lack of assigned work to focus on each day along with the ongoing changes and many distractions led to lethargy, lost focus, and some serious, costly mistakes. The company did nothing to help their employees constructively deal with the emotions of grief and loss and this made the situation much worse. Effective Grief in the Workplace coaching would have lessened the negative impact to the employees and the company.

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An Executive’s Unexpected Journey

An Executive’s Unexpected Journey

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Ron Gold talks about a bike ride that put him on a path he never expected to take and forever changed his life. After being hit and seriously injured by an SUV, Ron's successful 25-year career on Wall Street ended abruptly. He went through five months of hospitalization and therapy and returned home to begin a new life that depended on full-time care. That need set him on the path of entrepreneurship that today has helped thousands who have similar needs.

"Plans change when life smacks you in the face. How you respond to that change of plans is up to you".   Ron Gold, LeanOnWe.com

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Coach Linda explores his decision to leave his job on Wall Street despite managers who would have eagerly accepted him back to his prior job and instead start his company Lean On We.

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You Just Never Know

You Just Never Know

Recently an article appeared in my local newspaper that caught my attention.  A woman wrote to the newspaper to apologize and thank a man she had encountered at the post office.  Seems the man held the door open for her as she entered the building but lost in her own thoughts, she failed to notice or thank the man for his kindness. 

With no word or acknowledgement from her, his loud booming  “you’re welcome!” snapped her out of her own thoughts and back to the present moment.

She continues writing to say how sorry she was for not acknowledging the kindness (as she usually does) but was distracted that day.  A close friend called to tell the woman that her father just died suddenly of a massive heart attack.  This woman had been a support to the writer whose own father was gravely ill in a nursing home the past few weeks.  As she entered the post office, she was thinking about the irony and sadness of it all and how she could help her friend when the man mentioned above delivered his “you’re welcome”.

How often do you play that role?

The story reminded me of just how often I play one of those roles in my own day-to-day life.  Since I work with those in grief or very difficult life transitions, job loss, death, or divorce, I am often lost in thoughts of how they are feeling or how I can help them, or even my own personal issues at the moment. 

How many times have I not acknowledged a kind gesture another person extended to me?  How often do I just not see it as I drift in a sea of my own thoughts?  Other times, I extend a kindness to someone and they ignore the gesture or don’t seem to notice or care.  Do they just not care?  Are they lost in thoughts and difficulties I can’t see or imagine?  Fact is, I just don’t know.

When I encounter a stranger….

The newspaper article gave me an insight; a reason to pause and reflect on the burdens each of us carries at various times in our lives.   When I encounter a stranger I don’t really know what is going on with them at that moment.  I don’t know if they are experiencing a difficult time in their life or if they are just the ungrateful type who would never acknowledge a kindness extended to them.  I do know that I have a choice.  I can extend the kindness.  How the person on the receiving end takes it is really up to them.  I have no part in that. 

Extending the kindness enriches my life.  That in itself is a wonderful gift to me.  If the receiver takes it and acknowledges it, I’m doubly blessed.

The flip side of this however is that these are difficult times for many of us.  The newspaper article reminded me to allow room for others to grieve, to work through their difficulties in ways that work for them.  The path of grief is often jagged and sometimes causes the behaviors that we see and experience to seem a little harsher than normal.

My insight? 

I’m best served by choosing to extend love and kindness to others I encounter throughout my day.  I just never know what they are going through.  Easy to say, tough to do?  Yes but the woman in the post office served as a reminder to try and walk in love and kindness each day.

Grief's Ebb and Flow

Grief's Ebb and Flow

There is no doubt; these are difficult times on many levels.  Some of the people I speak with talk about losing their savings in the down market. Others talk about job loss and how frightened they are of a future that is uncertain. These and many other life losses lead to profound grief.

Its one thing to know that you are feeling the pull of grief but it is quite another thing to know what to do about it. Sometimes it is the realization that you have no control that fuels the feelings of grief.

Find a Support Person

If you can, find someone you can share your feelings with. Your real feelings not just the ones you think they want to hear. This can be hard to do but once you take that first step, you just might feel a whole lot better.

Very often adversity leads to a renewal within you. This might be a good time to look at what you value most in your life and really begin to focus on the people and things in your life that are most important to you. If you are in the depths of grieving now, hold tight. The storm will pass and you will emerge renewed.

Remember the butterfly. The struggle is often part of your life’s journey.