Following the commencement of military action, Ukraine and Russia have been in a state of emergency. While most employers are already providing the necessary support and resources for their impacted employees, here are a few practical recommendations we offer so you could support your impacted employees in the best way possible.
Being an Empathetic Global Employer
While everybody is contemplating their lives and careers, it is yet another crisis that has massively hit countries under siege. If there is anything this pandemic taught us, it’s about being sensitive. Employers can be empathetic by genuinely listening to their employees, especially in trying situations.
Organizations that facilitate simple listening sessions can help understand what employees are deeply going through and see how best they can offer support. It is also essential to consider that some employees may not want to feel helpless and avoid asking for help, so interacting with them and constantly looking out for them can make a big difference.
During these critical times, staying open and available to your team is imperative. It’s a human tendency to be stressed about the escalating situation by looking at the latest updates on various social and media channels. But this helplessness cannot be translated into desperation. If you are a global employer, knowing the general cultural norms is crucial before offering support or rolling out new initiatives during such vulnerable times. Sometimes good intentions could be perceived differently because of the locational and cultural norms.
Opening lines of Communication
Technology and the internet have given us options for easy and streamlined communication for our workers, but employers might have to consider more ways during a major conflict. Setting up crisis committees that regularly check in with employees to gather information. If you work in a hybrid model, the committee can draw out contingency plans such as helping with travel costs if required and if the situation escalates to extreme levels.
Keeping the HR information systems up to date, especially if your organization is remote, to ensure that you have location details of every employee or freelancer that you are working with within Ukraine.
Focus on Mental Wellness
Listening to the horrors of war can be intense. The myriad of emotions – fear, despair, loneliness, isolation, and countless other feelings that words can’t describe – poses a massive threat to the mental health of your employees in Ukraine. As a business owner, you can focus on initiatives that can help ease them.
Make your employees feel they are not left alone. Giving them the confidence to sail through the turbulent times with the right support system, such as professional mental wellness services can be of great help. These services can be made available through Slack or some other official virtual platforms that can be easily accessible to your employees. Also, remember, make sure you include your employee’s family in all the support facilities you offer.
Paying your workforce
Your workforce in Russia or Ukraine is already facing the brunt of economic-political actions. Knowing how to pay your workforce, offering payments on time, and deliverability is the need of the hour. A few days ago, credit cards and ATMs weren’t helpful for transactions. When Ukraine’s central bank suspended digital cash transfers and limited cash withdrawals, crypto — has become a viable option for making transactions. Walking the extra mile to send payments via their preferred payment methods can help you ensure that your workforces’ needs are met.
Paying cumulative salaries at one go can be an excellent way to ensure they are well-compensated in such trying times. Additionally, if there is a policy for employees to avail of personal loans from the company or avail any advances on their salary, you must make the process seamless and accessible. Global employers could pay the employee’s salaries in their local currency not to lose anything on conversion charges.
You offering every bit of certainty makes it one less thing to worry about for impacted employees. Ensuring your employee’s salaries are paid on time gives greater leverage, saves opportunity costs, and saves them from a great deal of regret.
Insurance Coverages for your workforce and families
Ukraine is yet to establish a Universal HealthCare Program. However, in tumultuous times, even robust public health care infrastructure could be crippled by the current situation.
Insurance helps your employees who are civilians gain access to private healthcare without much worry. You could increase their insurance coverage to include war-related accidents, natural disasters, mental health support, and in-patient and outpatient charges.
The policy can also facilitate medivac or emergency medical evacuation. This helps employees cut down on waiting time and avail emergency services with low access barriers.
If employees in your workforce have relocated to Ukraine, ensure access to global health cover.
Medical and Travel Reimbursements
War is a hostile situation that wouldn’t leave anyone unscathed. In such cases, providing proper medical and travel reimbursements will prove to be helpful. Reimbursement of medical expenses, especially prescription medicines, can help employees. With government initiatives in place, reimbursement of medicines and consultation with doctors have ensured the availability of medicines and pharmaceutical assistance is a more straightforward process.
The Ukrainian government has also established an Affordable Medicines Program (AMP). While there are no provisions on capping on medical reimbursements, insurance can significantly reduce medical, health, and hospital expenditures. Arranging cost-effective health and medical insurance for employees in hostile cities of Ukraine specifically designed to provide hospital in-patient and outpatient coverage as well as emergency medical evacuation and repatriation will turn out to be helpful.
As employers and business owners, providing reimbursements for travel expenses in Ukraine with the current situation is critical and will help employees located in Ukraine. Employees can reimburse travel expenses for employees looking to relocate to relatively safer places.
Amidst such distressing circumstances, it is necessary to recognize the challenges of every employee in Ukraine. In the interest of the employees, it is best to provide them the freedom to schedule their work hours and execute tasks accordingly.
With a large population in danger, there can be unexpected obstacles like loss of electricity, lack of network coverage, relocation to safer areas, and much more. It would be wise to sideline work priorities and extend paid personal leave. Time is of the essence to reach safer locations, ensure food and resources, restore stability and regain strength. Employees stuck are facing unprecedented challenges for survival and safety. Communicate with them constantly to get updates regarding their protection.
Make it normal to take stress leaves. Reassure your employees. Understand their plight and extend your wholehearted support in their difficult times. The kindness and compassion of your company can make the employees feel relieved and hopeful. Be that organization that stands with the employees in all their pain and instills them with confidence to hope for a better tomorrow.
Preparing for Army Drafts
Employers must be prepared for when employees get drafted to join the war relief. While this might affect your company operations, know that their intentions are for a noble cause, and their safety will be jeopardized in their pursuit. To show your support to your employees who chose to fight for their company, you must ensure that their benefits and compensations are in place should anything happen to them. Your HR should take note of the employees who were drafted, review their contracts and ensure that they are getting the benefits that are rightfully theirs.
In the case of workforce shortage, employers must consider restructuring their company to keep operations running. This might mean a lot of employees occupying more than one role in the company. Employers must make the necessary training to do the role effectively while ensuring that they are not burned out in the process.
Managing the Morale of Your HR and Payroll Teams
While preparing to support employees in these war-torn countries, ensure your HR and payroll departments aren’t demotivated. HR leaders and teams are integral to implementing radical initiatives. Although their hearts would be in the right place, they, too, are not immune to disruptions in their professional and personal lives.
Seamless facilitation of payments, insurance, employee well-being, and day-day updates from impacted employees would be possible only if your HR and payroll departments are up to the task.
Communicate the action plan for impacted employees to your HR and payroll teams. Encourage HR teams to create safe spaces and lend an ear to affected employees. Consider daily check-ins with HR teams. In a remote setting, check-ins are an effective way to improve employee morale and reduce isolation. Ensure your HR teams are adequately motivated to carry out these well-being initiatives.
Like the whole world, Multiplier also wishes that the war clouds move away from the region and everything returns to normalcy. We have all our clients, partners, and employee members in our thoughts. We are here to extend all possible support we can, so you can offer support to your workforce and their families in the region.