• 10 Steps for Dealing With a Suicide

      VandePol, Bob (2016-05-16)
      Following the tragedy of death by suicide, the workforce will include people whose personal struggles already leave them vulnerable and who now face increased risk for destructive behavior, including suicide. Tragedy can beget additional tragedies. Sometimes irrational blaming behavior includes violence. Sometimes suicide contagion, or “copycat suicides,” occur. How leaders respond (postvention) after death by suicide is critical to stopping that negative momentum.
    • 10 Workplace Action Steps for Dealing with the Aftermath of a Suicide

      VandePol, Bob (The Risk and Resilience Hub, 2019-05-31)
      Following the tragedy of death by suicide, the workforce will include people whose personal struggles already leave them vulnerable and who now face increased risk for destructive behavior, including suicide. Tragedy can beget additional tragedies. Sometimes irrational blaming behavior includes violence. Sometimes suicide contagion or “Copycat Suicides” occur. How leaders respond (postvention) after death by suicide is critical to stopping that negative momentum.
    • Crisis Management: The Critical Human Element

      VandePol, Bob; Beyer, Cal (Construction Financial Management Association, 2021-05)
      Almost 15 people die at work every day. Three of them are in the construction industry. Sadly, since this article first appeared in 2009, the year-end numbers have remained virtually unchanged. Construction’s increasing complexity demands that construction leaders (including CFMs) deploy new risk management strategies and tactics. Unfortunately, despite these efforts, unanticipated emergencies and disasters occur daily in our industry.
    • Critical Incident Response for Workplace Violence

      Attridge, Mark; VandePol, Bob (2011-08)
      Critical incidents involving workplace violence are sudden, unexpected, often life-threatening time-limited events that can inhibit an individual’s capacity to respond adaptively. This report summarizes the extent of the problem, the psychological aspects of trauma from workplace violence, how it is treated through critical incident response services, and the business value of providing a proper response and prevention strategy.
    • Depression in the Workplace: What Can We Do

      VandePol, Bob (2021-09)
      Although you might not know it, depression touches everyone in the workplace. Affecting nearly one in ten adults each year, depression is one of the top reasons for lost productivity, sick days taken and disability leave. Unaddressed depression in the workplace can contribute to lower profits and morale as well as increased mistakes and accidents. Ignoring depression is no longer an option. Rather than be bystanders, everyone in the workplace can help to address this issue. Depression is a serious medical illness of the brain that affects a person’s mood, concentration, activity level, interests, appetite, social behavior and physical health. Although depression is treatable, oftentimes it is a lifelong condition with periods of wellness alternating with depressive recurrences.
    • EAP and COVID-19 2021: Effective Crisis Leadership During COVID-19

      VandePol, Bob (2021)
      Both blind denial and conspiracy theories abound in every conversation, but all eyes are looking to leadership to define the course of action. Your response will reverberate through your organization as people take their cue from what they see and hear from you. Of course, you will be instantly criticized regardless of your decisions and, frankly, you cannot control those responses. You CAN control how you lead and that will stand the test of time. The Pine Rest Employee Assistance Program recommends the following crisis communication process – ACT.
    • EAP and COVID-19: Resilience During COVID-19

      VandePol, Bob (2020-03)
      Series of eight - 3 minute videos that address how to build resilience with your employees in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • EAP and COVID-19: Why Employee Assistance Programs are Valuable During and After COVID-19

      Beyer, Cal; VandePol, Bob; Dyme, Bernard S.; Meiners, Anna (Cahaba Media Group, Inc., 2020-05-07)
      A valuable resource for employers during times of crisis is the employee assistance program (EAP). This article is intended to provide a look at the objectives, services and outcomes of EAPs through a panel of three long-term EAP professionals with experience in the construction industry: Bob VandePol, executive director of the employee assistance program at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Bernie Dyme, founder, president and chief executive officer of Perspectives Ltd., in Chicago, Illinois; and Anna Meiners, director of account services, EAP and well-being at Cascade Centers Inc. in Portland, Oregon.
    • How to Communicate Following a Suicide: 4 Lessons From the Media

      VandePol, Bob (2018-01-01)
      More than 50 research studies worldwide have found that certain types of news coverage can increase the likelihood of suicide in vulnerable individuals. The magnitude of the increase is related to the amount, duration and prominence of coverage. As organizational leaders, we can and should learn from these media studies and shape our written and verbal communication in a preventive way.
    • How to Contain the Chaos and Empower Your Employees During a Crisis

      VandePol, Bob (The Risk and Resilience Hub, 2019-07-10)
      When dealing with a crisis, a leader’s role is largely to guide others through it. Good leaders understand that everyone responds to crisis differently and know that they must be prepared for the myriad ways people may react when faced with tragedy. Tragedies often trigger additional tragedies. When under the influence of the shock of traumatic stress, people and organizations often make errors in judgment that lead to additional losses. Rash high-risk decisions and behaviors, precipitous resignations, hostile blaming, drunk driving charges, violence at home and work, and increased suicide risk are examples of how traumatized people can make a bad situation worse. When people are shocked by a tragedy, immediate chemical and neuro-psychological adjustments take place to address the present threat in one of three ways: Fight, Flight, or Freeze. Whereas these responses can have short-term survival value in the midst of a crisis, they often do not translate well to productivity in today’s work environments.
    • The importance of managing human factors during a workplace crisis

      VandePol, Bob; Beyer, Cal (Zurich, 2011-01-01)
      While many of manufacturing injuries including fatalities elicit a standard and straightforward response, certain types of incidents have characteristics that warrant an elevated or escalated response. So-called critical incidents are more disruptive to organizations and can disrupt organizational productivity and affect employees’ emotional well-being. This response is as predictable as it is normal. In the face of such an organizational crisis, leaders are charged with the responsibility of restoring normalcy (or as close as can be restored). Critical incidents are unsettling, uncomfortable and unfamiliar situations. A crisis management plan with an established protocol for critical incident response can help restore leadership in these times of crisis.
    • Leadership in Times of Crisis: Critical Incident Response After Tragedy

      VandePol, Bob (The Risk and Resilience Hub, 2019-04-16)
      It can happen here. When tragedy strikes the workplace — a fatal accident, violence, suicide, a robbery, or natural disaster — all employees immediately look to its leadership for direction. How those leaders respond when all eyes are upon them offers both tremendous opportunity and serious risk for the subsequent outcomes. Reactions to their leadership will echo throughout the organization as others take their cue from the charted direction. Employees will go through the crisis with or without leadership. Lead them.
    • Leading a company in the aftermath of a suicide loss

      VandePol, Bob; Beyer, Cal (Construction Financial Management Association, 2019-03-11)
      WITH THE HIGHEST SUICIDE RATE AND NUMBER OF DEATHS BY SUICIDE – in fact, more deaths by suicide per year than all of OSHA’s Fatal Four Hazards combined – the construction industry must continue its suicide prevention efforts. Despite a company’s best efforts to address suicide prevention, learning that an employee, family member, subcontractor, supplier, or professional business partner has experienced a death by suicide is devastating. Part of suicide prevention is to address how to handle the aftermath of a suicide loss, which is known as suicide postvention. This article will share perspectives, strategies, resources, and tools to help contractors respond appropriately if the unthinkable should happen. What Is Suicide Postvention? The Suicide Prevention Resource Center defines postvention as the provision of crisis intervention and other support after a suicide has occurred to address and alleviate possible effects of suicide. Effective postvention has been found to stabilize the community and facilitate the return to a new normal.
    • Leading Effectively by Managing Change

      VandePol, Bob; Holthaus, Jean, 1963- (2021-10)
      Many people are feeling anxiety about shedding whatever they relied upon to create safety and give them a sense of being protected. During the Pandemic this anxiety has increased for many. This presentation offered by experts in the Crisis Management field offers solid information from current surveys about the status of anxiety in the US and then offers some concrete ways of managing those fears and concerns especially from the role of someone depended on for leadership in the workplace.
    • Listening to the Eyes

      VandePol, Bob (2021-01)
      Anyone who delivers Critical Incident Response Services knows about eyes and the stories they tell. We have peeked into a room where those impacted by a tragedy are gathered. Perhaps it was a robbery, the death of a colleague, a catastrophic accident, or the suicide of someone they know. Some eyes are weeping. Others riveted on the floor. A few may be hostile while others rapidly scan every inch of the room. Still others are locked into the “million-mile stare,” seemingly disconnected from anything present.
    • Position Leaders to Lead

      VandePol, Bob (2013-11)
      Behavioral health professionals are uniquely qualified to serve as critical incident response (CIR) professionals. Due to their training, they understand human behavior and the effects of potentially traumatic events, they communicate empathetically, and can usually maintain poise under stressful situations. They have also been trained in how to assess and triage situations in which access to additional services are required - especially imminent danger of harm to self or others. However, when they misunderstand their role within a business context, behavioral health professionals are uniquely disqualified as CIR specialists. Adherence to research-based best practices and clinical excellence are foundational to effective delivery of CIR Services....