Case Study - Please Help Me To Solve This - CiteHR
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Merlyn Monroe is not a complainer. If she has a major ache, she usually suffers in silence. Although her employer, Atlantic Mutual Insurance, has an employee assistance program- to provide emotional and psychological support in the work plan. She certainly never thinks of using it, even if she did have a worry on her mind. “They say its confidential but who really knows? Asked Ms. Monroe’, an administrative assistant at the insurance company.
But Merlyn Monroe’s life changed on September 11, 2001. Her office at 140 Broadway in New York City, was near the world trade Center. She watched the whole thing from her 50th Floor office window.
Ms.Monroe had never seen so much destruction in her life. She had never seen such a horrific terrorist attack. Nor had she forced her to relieve 9/11 over and over.
Everything she talked to people they wanted details, which made it worse for her. She had so much anger about what had happened to her life and lives of so many people and the city where she worked for 40 Years.
Two weeks after 9/11, Ms.Monroe was still suffering after effects. Even though she lives on state Island and Atlantic Mutual’s offices have been temporarily relocated to Madison, New Jersey, not an hour goes by when she doesn’t have flashbacks of her experiences of 9/11.
  • What should Atlantic Mutual Management do, if anything, to cope with the aftereffects of 9/11?
  • How long would You expect employees to be adversely affected by 9/11 if a company provides no formal assistance for dealing with anger and stress?
  • What, if anything, should Management do about employees who appear to be suffering from such kind or trauma and stress, but will neither admit it nor accept help from their employee?
  • Outline the role of HR specialist in providing a safe and healthy environment for employees.

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Hi Saleem,
Please find below my suggestions:-
1. The Management in such situation should try and organize behavioural sessions / Yoga sessions/ organize programs like art of living to help its employees to come out of such trauma.
2. Such situations are very personal in nature. No organization can determine a timeframe by which a person can come out of such a situation. An organization may conduct generic sessions to help its employees. In case if the organization is not taking initiatives to help its employees then it may affect the work culture/ people development in the long run.
3. Again, the Management may organize sessions mentioned in point 1 which can be defined as generic in nature and should be meant for all the employees strictly.
Hope this would suffice.
A1) The Management can organize a seminar/ presentation with help from a professional counselor about the various disasters i.e man-made, natural calamity, terrorist attacks etc. with emphasis on how people have fought back physically and mentally from such adverse situations in the past. As mentioned above some one-to-one therapy/ counseling sessions can be arranged on case to case basis. Address the whole group as a single entity to motivate them to come out of the trauma.

A2) The span of time to decide on the effects of the trauma would be really difficult as it would wary according to each one's mental and physical conditioning from maybe a few months to years. So instead of mapping of time taken to heal, the management should proactively monitor progress of the group and individuals within. Whereby they can identify the one's lagging behind on case to case basis.Self-help group programs are best in this situation where members can relate to each other as well as to the group as whole while facing such trauma.

A3) The Management can propagate CSR initiatives with keeping community welfare as its theme. Voluntary Social work and Helping out others would effectively help members to introspect and cope with their own emotional turmoil in such cases. Slowly they have to be incorporated into activities which will reduce the span of attention they give to such trauma and its memories.

A4) HR Specialist is the effective change agent for providing a safe and healthy environment to the employees. He needs to understand the emotions of individuals and their concerns as well as the group matrix within the organizations to which such individuals relate themselves to. Not only the physical safety, the HR Specialist has to do more on keeping the mental well being of his employees by addressing to their fears, anxiety, expectations etc. He has to keep an open mode of communication keeping all his employees involved and informed of the proposed change initiatives by taking the individuals as well as the group into confindence.

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