Corporate Angels

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This article was prepared for the October 24, 2001

edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

HR Professionals: On Front Lines

The human resources profession is a complex one, dealing

as it does with all things related to the human beings who staff

companies large and small. Questions abound, says Kristin Bowl,

spokesperson for the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), a

165,000-member organization. SHRM has an extensive information desk,

which members can call at no charge to get advice. "In a normal

year, we get 70,000 calls," says Bowl.

Normal this year is not. In the month following September 11, Bowl

says calls came in waves, prompted by extraordinary circumstances.

First, she says, callers asked: "`What should we do to help

employees

cope?’" Soon after, there were calls inquiring about how to secure

office buildings and prepare disaster plans. "We took a poll,"

she says. "One half of all companies did not have a disaster plan

in effect on September 11." Equally troublesome, in her view,

"others did not know if they had a disaster plan. It’s not a good

sign if you don’t know."

Next came calls about call-up of reservists and members of the

National

Guard. Callers are not just interested in knowing their companies’

obligation to these employees, but, says Bowl, "they want to know

what other companies are doing. What are the best practices? How can

I be competitive?"

Callers now often ask about anthrax, or, more specifically, how to

protect their employees from the bacteria. Not commonly thought of

as hanging around in the mail room, or even having responsibility

for it, human resources professionals are intimately involved because,

as Bowl says, "we’re responsible for anything that touches

people."

This, unfortunately, includes harassment. Following the events of

September 11, SHRM’s information center has been telling some callers

how to deal with taunts directed at employees of Middle Eastern

extraction.

Anthrax, mass grief following a series of horrific attacks on our

country, intolerance of Middle Eastern co-workers, a sudden call up

of Army reservists; none of these items were in the forefront when

SHRM’s New Jersey Chapter planned its annual meeting, but none will

be far from the thoughts of presenters.

The "New Jersey State Conference for Human Resource

Professionals"

begins on Sunday, November 4, at 5:30 p.m. at the Parsippany Hilton,

and runs through Tuesday, November 6. Call 201-525-6307. Speakers

include Jean Otte, CEO of Women Unlimited; Larry Imley,

CEO of StratfordGroup; and Helen Drinan, CEO of SHRM National.

Bowl says some 170 human resources professionals have volunteered

their services, at no charge, to help any companies affected by the

events of September 11. Names are posted at SHRM’s headquarters in

Alexandria, Virginia, and many volunteers, says Bowl, are willing

to travel to help companies out. Bowl requests that any company in

need of emergency help with any human resource functions call her

at 703-535-6047.

More help — lots and lots of it — is available at SHRM’s

website

(www.shrm.org). Normally the organization’s material is password

protected,

but it has opened up to the public, at no charge, an extensive section

with the heading "HR Responds to Terrorism." The section

contains

white papers, including "Conducting a Critical Incident Stress

Debriefing" and "Controlling a Crisis: Preparing for the

Media."

Farther down are sample memos to employees, lists of mail room do’s

and don’ts, facts on military leaves of absence and reemployment

rights,

suggestions for setting up emergency time off pools — and even

a religion diversity kit.

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Corporate Angels

New Jersey’s pharmaceutical and medical technology

companies

have donated nearly $30 million to relief efforts following the

attacks

on September 11. They have also contributed products and organized

blood drives. The companies are continuing their efforts by holding

further blood drives and matching the money employees are

contributing.

Among the New Jersey pharmaceutical companies that have helped out

in the relief effort are Bristol-Myers Squibb, which has donated

$5.5 million, and has made product donations, including products for

rescue workers and medical supplies for burn victims.

Johnson & Johnson has contributed $10 million along with

product donations, including medical and disaster relief supplies.

It has held on-site blood drives and was the sole advertiser in a

special commemorative edition of Newsweek titled "The Spirit of

America." The company donated its advertising space to nonprofit,

relief, and recovery associations.

Novo Nordisk donated $170,000 to the relief effort,

matched

employee donations, and donated medical supplies. The company also

held on-site blood drives, and its employees donated food and

clothing.

Nycomed Amersham donated $500,000, and held on-site blood

drives.

Organon donated $1 million.

Phil Kramer Photographers , with offices on Witherspoon

Street, is collecting donations for the Toys for Tots program. Anyone

visiting the company’s booth at the October 30 Halloween celebration

in Palmer Square will receive one photo — taken in a Halloween

setting — for each donation made. There is no limit to the

donations

that can be made, and donors will receive one photograph for each.

The Mercer County affiliate of the National Alliance for the

Mentally Ill has been awarded grants of $13,950 from four New Jersey

organizations. In March, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation

of Princeton donated $800; in April, Public Service Electric

and Gas Company donated $2,500; in June, NAMI New Jersey donated

$600; and in September, the Mercer County Department of Human Services

awarded a grant totaling $10,000.

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Entries Please

The New Jersey Chapter of the International Association of Business

Communicators is seeking entries for its 2001 IRIS Awards Competition.

The annual contest features a total of 76 categories under the main

sections of Communications Campaigns, Publications, Electronic

Communications,

Writing, Special Purpose Communications, Photography/Illustration,

and Design.

Award criteria include innovative and effective use of media, overall

quality of writing, design, and execution, and successful achievement

of objectives. Entries must be accompanied by a statement of

objectives

and results, including a description of the target audience and budget

information.

The contest is open to all professional communicators. Call

973-267-4328

or visit www.njiabc.com


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