US firms put staff first in aftermath of attack

Employers are making more effort to meet staff needs, according to joint
research by SHRM and eePulse.

Six out of 10 organisations now offer staff an open door policy with
management to discuss concerns, and allow staff to postpone or cancel business
travel.

A third are establishing a task force to examine safety and security issues
and a fifth are providing diversity training to improve awareness of ethnicity
and race issues due to terrorist attacks, claims the research.

However, only half of American employers are planning to commemorate
September 11. The survey of 7,466 HR professionals shows that while a third
will observe a moment of silence, 45 per cent will not mark it.

It finds companies underestimated the impact of the terrorist attack. More
than 70 per cent of US firms initially claimed they were prepared to return to
‘business as usual’, but in reality only 41 per cent have been unaffected,
according to last month’s survey.

"Regardless of geographic location, respondents cited ways that relationships
between people at work changed since September 11," said Dr Theresa
Welbourne, CEO of eePulse. "Some respondents said their employees were
more caring; others said employees were more focused on family and friends, and
another group indicated an overall sense of loss that resulted from 9/11, the
anthrax scare, and the overall downturn in the economy."

The survey also finds that employee relationships have changed in the wake
of September 11 – respondents said many colleagues are now more caring and
employees are more focused on family and friends.

www.shrm.org/surveys

By Mike Broad

Impact on UK business

More than 70 per cent of UK
businesses experienced fallout from September 11, according to a survey by
Personnel Today sister magazine globalhr.

Companies say they have been affected by financial downturn and
cost-cutting and taken measures such as only filling business-critical
vacancies. UK companies that experienced fallout reported introducing new
security procedures (ID cards, emergency contact details) and improving
disaster contingency and recovery planning.

globalhr editor DeeDee Doke said while UK business has
suffered, it hasn’t been idle. "UK companies appear to have learned
lessons from this tragedy and HR department can take pride in having taken a
lead role in acting upon these lessons."

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