How Employers Can Help Workers Cope in the Wake of Mass Shootings

Employment expert explains how companies can support employees and ensure that their workplaces stay safe

CopingAnother tragic outbreak of mass shootings has left many Americans reeling. As people struggle to cope with the aftermath of this senseless violence, it is important for employers to ensure that their workplaces feel safe and supportive for all workers. Rob Wilson, employment expert and President of Employco USA, says “One in seven Americans say they don’t feel safe at work. But the good news is that small steps can help to build feelings of security and community in your workplace.”

Here, Wilson outlines the steps that an employer should take to help prevent and cope with workplace violence:

1) Put emergency guidelines in your handbook. “Make sure that your employee handbook offers procedures on how to handle the unthinkable. We have everything from fire drills to tornado drills, we should also have steps in place for how to handle a mass shooting. If possible, you can even discuss these steps with a local law enforcement officer to help to ensure that the best procedures are given to your employees.”

2) Offer grief counseling if appropriate. “For people in Texas, heading back to work on this Monday morning is probably frightening and a bit unreal. It can be hard to forget the aftermath of last week’s tragedy and switch back into work mode. A grief counselor can be an invaluable resource when it comes to processing these emotions.”

3) Consider offering a limited work schedule. “Where possible, allow employees to personalize their own schedules in the week following a tragedy. Maybe it is advisable for the workday to be short and limited. Look for ways to cut stress from employees’ plates.”

4)  Find a project to help bring peace back to the workplace. “Whether it’s planting a garden, collecting cans for a food drive, or setting up a memorial, find a way to bring a sense of togetherness and community spirit back to the fractured workplace.”

5) Keep political talk of out of the office – and off of social media. “This is an important time to remind staff that the office is not the place for political debate, and neither is their social media pages if they interact with clients and other coworkers on these sites. It’s not the time to post gun control memes or the time to debate how the President should handle the matter. Focus on healing and unity, not on divisive debates.”

Lastly, ask employees to follow the “see something, say something” motto. “Ask your employees to keep their eyes and ears open for anything that might be a sign of trouble,” says Wilson, “Have an open door policy and let employees know that they will not be penalized for sharing their fears, even if that fear turns out to be unfounded. We all need to responsible for keeping our workplaces violence-free.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at