More Than Half of Employees Who Experienced a Traumatic Event Affecting Their Workplace Say Their Employer Did Not Make Counseling Available

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Raleigh, N.C. (March 7, 2018) – With seemingly constant news coverage of natural disasters, violent crimes, layoffs, and other incidents that affect employees both personally and professionally, many companies have begun focusing on ways to better support their managers and employees. A new poll commissioned by Workplace Options, a leading global provider of integrated employee wellbeing services, yielded data that should be of interest to employers worldwide. For example, of those employees polled who experienced a traumatic event in the workplace, more than half (52%) stated their employer did not make counseling available to employees or take any similar measures to help employees affected by the event.

“Preparing for a potential traumatic event, and providing proper services for your employees if one should ever occur is hugely important to the resilience of your organization,” said Dean Debnam, chief executive officer at Workplace Options. “Providing education to managers and employees on available benefits leads to less risk of absenteeism and presenteeism of affected employees.”

Results of the poll showed data that supports the need for employers to explore the implementation of a plan for rapid response to critical incidents in the workplace, as well as increased need for education around the benefit. The poll revealed that only 26% of workers feel that their employers’ managers are totally prepared to deal with a traumatic incident in the workplace.  A total of 40% stated they felt that their employer’s managers are only somewhat prepared or not prepared at all to deal with a traumatic incident in the workplace.

Poll results also show that:

  • Almost half (46%) of respondents stated their employer does not have, or that they are unsure if their employer has, a disaster management plan in place to help cope with potential traumatic incidents.
  • 58% of employees polled said they would consider using free confidential counseling made available by their employer.
  • Only 27% of workers stated that if they were affected by a traumatic incident at their workplace, they would not seek any form of counseling or support services.
  • Almost two-thirds (62%) of workers have been employed by an organization that experienced a traumatic event (sudden loss of an employee or colleague, a natural disaster, or some other traumatic event).
  • 69% total of employees polled said that it is either “very valuable” or “somewhat valuable” when employers make counseling and emotional support services available following a tragedy, accident or traumatic event.

“The reach and impact of RRCI is self-evident, when you look at the statistics,” added Debnam. “When about two-thirds of the polled workers reported their organization experiencing a traumatic event, but less than half reported having a disaster management plan, you see the gap.”

When it comes to potential workplace incidents, workers were asked which would be considered the most emotionally stressful or traumatic. The results were relatively even, but notably, job layoffs were reported to be more stressful than all other situations. See the results here showing the percentage of workers polled who thought each scenario was the most emotionally stressful or traumatic:

  • 26% for an employer announcing job layoffs
  • 24% for a natural disaster in the immediate area such as a flood, earthquake, or tornado
  • 23% for violence within the workplace or criminal activity such as burglary or a robbery
  • 21% for the death of a co-worker or colleague

With the potential for critical incidents that may affect a business and its employees, and data showing the value that workers see in emotional support services following a traumatic event, employers can take an opportunity to review their current standards and plans for supporting their teams in difficult times.

The national poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling on February 1-3 and is based on responses from 865 working Americans. The margin of error is +/- 3.3 percent. Full results are available online HERE.

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About Workplace Options

Workplace Options helps employees balance their work, family and personal needs to become healthier, happier and more productive, both personally and professionally. The company’s world-class employee support, effectiveness and wellbeing services provide information, resources, referrals and consultation on a variety of issues ranging from dependent care and stress management to clinical services and wellness programs.

Drawing from an international network of credentialed providers and professionals, Workplace Options is the world’s largest integrated employee support and work-life services provider. Service centers in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Portugal, France, Belgium, UAE, Singapore, Japan, China, India and Indonesia support more than 58 million employees across 90,000 organizations and more than 200 countries and territories. To learn more, visit