If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I believe your employees are more important to you than your customers. If your “employee service” is as important or more important to you than your customer service, then you know your employees are more likely to go the extra difference with your customers.
But what happens when one of your employees has a family crisis. Specifically, what happens when an employee’s family member is diagnosed with a catastrophic illness.
Two weeks ago, my 81-year old mother was hospitalized for dizziness. Several days later it was diagnosed as small cell lung cancer which had spread to her brain.
WHAM! The news hit me like a linebacker hitting a ball carrier. But because I’ve worked for the American Cancer Society for more than two decades, I knew what to do. Immediately I went to our Web site looking for information. When I couldn’t find it fast enough, I called our call center open 24/7. They got me the information I needed, in this case, questions my Dad should be asking the oncologist.
If you have employees who have family crises like this, know that there are many organizations out there on the World Wide Web that can help. Many of them provide information, some of them provide services. There may also be call centers with trained specialists standing by.
You can help your employees cope by seeking out and referring them to appropriate Web sites and other resources. Usually, their most critical need in the first few days is information about treatment options, questions to ask doctors, survivability, and other similar topics. Consider allowing another employee close to the co-worker time to locate these resources.
During that first week, there were several days when I felt like I was trying to wade through molasses.It became harder to stay focused on my work, but thanks to my dad, his neighbors, several cousins, my wife, and the support of some of my co-workers, I was able to cope. I’m fortunate to work for an organization where “family comes first.”
Every day your employees stand by your business
When something like this happens, it’s your turn to stand by them.
Here is a partial list of organizations who can help:
American Cancer Society (see above links)
If you know of an organization that provides assistance to those in similar straits, due to disease or other causes, please leave a comment here with the organization’s URL.