In this issue
How should organisations respond to a kidnap crisis? Peter Rudge and Stephen Regel explain.
Resilient organisations in a complex world
Noreen Tehrani considers how organisations respond and recover from traumatic incidents
Building the evidence: what works at work?
To measure therapeutic outcomes, we need a form of measurement that focuses on the workplace. Barry McInnes, David Sharar and Mike Shaw introduce and trial the Workplace Outcome Suite.
The new counsellor
Hilary Green continues her reflections on the challenges of a new career
A new framework for supervision
Helen Cole reports on the launch of BACP’s supervision training curriculum
Notes from the chair
The bigger picture
Lead Advisor Rick Hughes on the latest workplace news
Dr Sandi Mann: Is there room for God at work?
Dr Kate Anthony: Keylogging – who’s watching you?
Inside the organisation
Gill Fennings-Monkman talks to Counselling at Work
Normal people carrying out the day job while working overseas are increasingly likely to be kidnapped. Journalists, aid workers, doctors and engineers have all been taken hostage, and the recent beheadings that have dominated our news have followed a sickening pattern that has become tragically familiar. For those families waiting to hear news of their abducted loved one, the not knowing must surely be the worst kind of endurance.
In this grim climate, I was heartened to hear about the work of Hostage, a charity set up by former hostages and their families, to provide specialist care and support to hostage families during and after a kidnapping. This essential work is carried out by a team of volunteers, including psychologists, psychiatrists, lawyers, financial advisors and communications experts, who support families through the complexities of a kidnap crisis. Thank you to Peter Rudge and Stephen Regel, who are the authors of our cover article ‘Taken hostage’ and who are both closely involved in the work of Hostage.
As a kidnap crisis is fast-moving, chaotic and unpredictable, the authors stress that organisations with employees in high risk areas must have a structured plan in place. Experience has shown that how an organisation behaves towards the family during this time can impact on how well they come to terms with the kidnapping and recover from the trauma.
On the Hostage website, John Smith, the charity’s treasurer, explains, ‘Hostage and kidnap crisis must be a subject of concern to any corporations working in regions where there is any level of risk. Duty of care lies at the heart of all security considerations, and corporations should be conscious not only of the needs of staff but also of their families.’ Offering a stark warning, the authors recommend that organisations need to prepare now; once a kidnap has occurred, it’s too late.
Staying with the theme of trauma, I welcome back Noreen Tehrani, who gave a fascinating talk earlier this year at the Joint Practitioners’ Conference on building organisational resilience in a complex world. Many delegates present identified with working with traumatised organisations and so I’m pleased that Noreen has shared her presentation with us. Inevitably organisations, like humans, will face trauma, and by its nature it is both unpredictable and messy.
Citing high profile examples, such as the two recent tragedies that struck Malaysia Airlines or the case of child sex grooming in Rotherham, Noreen considers how organisations typically respond to trauma. What is most needed during and after a trauma is a creative, flexible and intuitive response to solving problems which should be led by those in the thick of it. Instead, the response is often one of autocratic decision making, tighter control and a dictatorial style that often backfires, with the potential to cause damage to the organisation. Perhaps this goes some way to explain why organisations sometimes react the way they do. I recall my disbelief on hearing that Malaysia Airlines had sent text messages to all the families of missing passengers of flight MH370 notifying them that their loved ones were presumed dead.
Shifting focus, in ‘Building the evidence’, Barry McInnes, David Sharar and Mike Shaw are the contributors to an article profiling the Workplace Outcome Suite, a client-completed evaluation that is work focused and designed for the EAP sector. Regular readers will know that Barry has written extensively on the topic of measuring outcomes and he continues to urge practitioners to provide a robust evidence base to prove that counselling interventions at work can make a measurable difference and hence provide a return on investment to stakeholders. It seems that the Workplace Outcome Suite could have a future role to play in this.
Last year, Gill Fennings-Monkman, an expert specialising in eating disorders, spoke at the NEC Birmingham, Health and Wellbeing at Work Conference on how the workplace can support staff with eating disorders. She talks to Counselling at Work in ‘Inside the organisation’ about the myths surrounding eating disorders, what helps the person with an eating disorder and how organisations can develop a healthy food culture.
And finally, reflecting on the long summers of childhood, Hilary Green continues her engaging series ‘The new counsellor’. She considers the impact that technology and our need to be constantly ‘connected’ has on our relationships with our families, our clients and our work.
Heralding the start of autumn, I attended the Making Connections event in Bristol with fellow executive committee member, Nick Wood. These events are incredible opportunities for networking and provide a rich day’s CPD that is free of charge. It was good to meet some new faces, to have the time to talk and to reconnect with others. I’m always interested to hear about the work you’re involved in as workplace specialists and to find out what is current for you in your work. These connections can often lead to articles or interviews for Counselling at Work, as do the emails you send to me. If you think you have a potential idea for an article or would like to give feedback on something you have read in this issue, please do get in touch.