Inside Disruption Blog

Disruptive Event Management – Onsite or Telephonic

Jessica Stogsdill
September 27, 2017

Disruptive events occur in the workplace more often than we would like to think. There are policies and procedures to handle the most common forms of disruption in the workplace but sometimes a policy is not enough. For example, a policy doesn’t help the clerk held up at gunpoint or employees who find out a coworker has died over the weekend.


When the disruptive event is something that can have a lasting effect on employees and management, bringing in a supportive counselor can help minimize the overall impact of the event and shorten the length of recovery time for the whole workgroup.


There are two main types of responses that can occur. The most common is for a counselor to work with employees at the physical work location. The other option is for a counselor to respond telephonically. While each has unique challenges and benefits, they are both effective in the support they provide to those impacted.


In-person responses offer the ability to connect the counselor and the employees face-to-face. It easier to read body language and gauge if the session is helpful or if there is need for more discussion.


In telephonic responses, a counselor can help overcome the barrier of not being face-to-face by taking time to discuss the plan for the call with management beforehand. During this call, the counselor will educate management on the unique characteristics of a telephonic intervention and tell them how the challenges can be overcome. A counselor will also give the manager suggestions on how to help employees by continuing the conversation after the call.


Logistically, in-person responses are not always possible, such as in instances where there is a remote worksite or when employees work in multiple locations. In these situations, a telephonic response is most effective. This way, employees can participate in the conversation together, even if they cannot see each other’s faces.


How does Disruptive Event Management help?
For many people, the disruptive event may be their first experience with death, loss, or imminent danger. A counselor will provide education to employees about normal and expected reactions to such an event, and explain how to care for themselves and support each other. This helps promote workgroup health and overall wellness among employees. In cases where employees may be concerned about safety after an event, management will communicate openness to discuss safety issues. If the circumstance involves the death of an employee, coworkers may want to do something to honor the individual. A counselor can help start this conversation with employees and help them to move beyond the initial loss.


When management brings in a counselor to support the team, it shows care and compassion for their employees. Even if employees don’t engage with the counselor, the effort will not be a waste of time. Simply knowing that the company cared enough to bring in outside support speaks volumes to employees. It carries weight far beyond the timeframe of the incident and puts leadership in a positive light. Employees feel trust when their company responds to their needs, and – should something happen in the future – they know the company will be there to support them again.

Jessica Stogsdill