Overstepping HR Boundaries: New Ways To Manage An Employee In Crisis

What happens when something traumatic in an employee’s life —  a close relative dies or a child gets seriously ill — how can HR help?

Kim Hamer, HR manager at Outlook Amusements, took to the DistruptHR stage to tell her story and how HR can manage employees in crisis.

She tells the account of what her late husband’s company did as her family was in crisis, battling illness. They paid his salary, changed benefits packages so that he could get access to better doctors, helped facilitate fundraisers, and allowed people to donate PTO.

Why did it matter? “People wanted to stay at a school that supported their employees like this through a tragedy,” said Hamer. While HR is great at the foundational parts of HR — filling out critical forms, ensuring people are taken care of on a legal basis — Hamer said that HR often misses when it comes to operating like people.

How can HR professionals lead in times of crisis? Hamer identifies a few ways:

  1. Know the laws — Have the foundational knowledge in place so you can be a source of true information
  2. Brainstorm support options — Understand what your organization is willing to do to support employees
  3. Hold a support meeting — Talk with the person or people impacted and understand those unique challenges

You can also ask the employee:

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  • Is there someone we can communicate with to check in on you?
  • How do you want us to message what is happening?
  • Which team members would you like to be your gatekeepers?

Watch the full video below.

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