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We are actively monitoring the situation in Ukraine and will update this blog post regularly as needed.
With the unsettling news of the Ukraine being under Russian attack, employers around the world must prepare to support their local employees.
As a company, those who employ team members in war and crisis zones have a duty - often by law, but in any case morally - to provide the best possible assistance to their employees.
Here is what companies can do now to support their employees in the Ukraine.
A precondition for any further assistance is that you remain in constant contact with your employees. Several daily check-ins are advisable in exceptional situations in order to be informed first-hand about what is actually happening on site and to be able to initiate immediate actions if necessary.
To quickly establish contact when needed, make sure your employees' contact information, their current addresses, and emergency contact information is available and up to date within the company. Ideally, you should have a designated person in your team for each country or location who can keep employee information up to date and quickly share it with other team members as needed.
Don't take for granted that everyone is informed about current events. Share information about conflicts that affect your employees, especially with colleagues and supervisors of the affected workers. Be clear that the safety of your employees is your top priority. Communicate explicitly that affected employees are not required to attend meetings or meet deadlines. If necessary, quickly find a replacement or ask other team members for support.
But work can also be a welcome distraction in times of crisis. Therefore, ask whether affected employees want to work or be temporarily off. Offer the possibility of working at flexible times, grant special leave or even offer full time off so that your employees can choose the best solution for themselves.
With fighting emerging in several Ukrainian cities, many people have to make the heartfelt decision to leave their home and relocate their family to safety. Make sure you talk to your employees about this possibility and support them in finding a new temporary home.
Companies who have offices in different locations might be able to source support within a local team or mobilise colleagues from different offices to connect and provide a temporary shelter. Additionally, you can start an emergency immigration application or work permit to help your employees relocate to a safer place.
And don’t forget about their families. If an employee chooses to leave the Ukraine, they will probably take their family with them. Offer support in finding not only accommodation in a new location, but also by providing them with safe travel options and help getting children into schools and elderly family members the health support they need.
Here you'll find more information about the Common European Asylum System.
Everyone handles a crisis differently. While some of your employees might choose to continue to work to distract themselves from the news, others might simply not be in the right mindset to perform their tasks. Either way, what they need is financial stability in these uncertain times, so be sure to offer financial support.
This can be done by giving paid time off until the situation has stabilised, or by paying for relocation costs such as hotel fees and travel expenses.
Sending supplies might be another opportunity for you to provide support. There are many local services that are still delivering groceries, medicine and other much needed products directly to the door, so talk to your employees about this option and offer to pay for any supplies they might need at this time.
If you want to support private citizens in the Ukraine, you can make an emergency donation to the International Rescue Committee.
Finally, being under attack from another country is a life-threatening situation that wouldn’t leave anyone unscatched. So on top of regular check-ins and providing any physical support you can, make sure to offer emotional and medical support as well.
Sometimes, talking about what is going on might help an employee to deal with the immensity of the situation, while others might choose to push it away. Either way, offering access to a virtual mental health specialist is a good way of showing you care and offering support.
Furthermore, some employees might need medical support, which might become increasingly difficult to access for them. Offering to send any medical supplies they might need as well as connecting them with a telehealth consultant should therefore be your number on priority.
To provide vital aid to Ukrainian people, you can donate money to the Ukrainian Red Cross Society.
If you need more information or further advice on supporting employees in a specific region, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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