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Supporting Ukrainian and Russian employees

The Russian invasion on Ukraine is having a devastating effect on many in the UK. Some will be Ukrainian, some will have friends and family living in the Ukraine, some will be Russian and may fear reprisals and others may be experiencing personal trauma triggered by images of war, particularly for those who have experienced war themselves.  

You may be wondering how you can reach out to your staff and show your support.  

  • A good starting point will be to email all staff, acknowledge the conflict and emphasise your compassion and support. Let them know that they can talk to you confidentially and that you will support them however best you can.
  • Learn to spot signs of distress in your employees. Focus on changes in behaviour such as rapid weight gain or loss, difficulty concentrating or sleeping, withdrawing from social situations or drinking more at social situations and displaying unsociable behaviour.  If you notice any of these signs, meet with the individual and either provide support or signpost them to appropriate external support.
  • Consider what support you can offer, for example, you may have an employee assistance programme. If you don’t have any support benefits to offer, you can signpost to the appropriate support such as Samaritans, other charities or counselling services.
  • For those who may need to take time off, remind them of the options available such as bereavement leave, unpaid leave or flexible working. You many also want to consider granting holiday requests at short notice.
  • Remind managers to check in with their teams. Ensure that they are being flexible with deadlines and workloads. Let them know what company support resources are available. Remember to support the managers while they are supporting their team.