The scale of last week’s terrorist attack on the US has left the world
reeling and the shock waves have reached everyone. Two of those who died on
board American Airlines Flight 11 were staff at a sister company of RBI – which
publishes Personnel Today. Our condolences go to the families and colleagues of
Jeff Mladenik and Andrew Curry Green, who were employees of Cahners.
HR professionals in companies directly affected have worked alongside
colleagues to track staff and support anxious and distraught families or
"It’s amazing how this has touched people globally. Situations like
this bring out the best in people," said John Reid-Dodick, global director
of HR at Reuters.
"The biggest shock is to discover we are an organisation with huge
feelings for each other," said Clive Newton, global head of HR at
Companies are pouring great efforts into providing counselling to those
bereaved and exploiting every available technology to provide communication
channels for those caught up in the catastrophe. There are huge HR challenges
in the long term. Some firms have lost hundreds of staff including many top
decision-makers. No disaster recovery programme can cover that eventuality.
Perhaps the most frightening implication of the attack on the World Trade
Centre is that it was targeted precisely because it was a symbol of global
trade, just as the Pentagon represents foreign policy. It was an attack on the
business community of the US and its allies.
For that reason, any solution must involve business leaders and there are
searching questions to answer. Ultimately, companies have one over-arching
concern. They will want to do everything in their power to help ensure
employees are never again victims of events like this.