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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
CEO of StratfordGroup; and
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
More help — lots and lots of it — is available at SHRM’s
(www.shrm.org). Normally the organization’s material is password
but it has opened up to the public, at no charge, an extensive section
with the heading "HR Responds to Terrorism." The section
white papers, including "Conducting a Critical Incident Stress
Debriefing" and "Controlling a Crisis: Preparing for the
Farther down are sample memos to employees, lists of mail room do’s
and don’ts, facts on military leaves of absence and reemployment
suggestions for setting up emergency time off pools — and even
a religion diversity kit.
New Jersey’s pharmaceutical and medical technology
have donated nearly $30 million to relief efforts following the
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
Among the New Jersey pharmaceutical companies that have helped out
in the relief effort are
$5.5 million, and has made product donations, including products for
rescue workers and medical supplies for burn victims.
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.
employee donations, and donated medical supplies. The company also
held on-site blood drives, and its employees donated food and
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
that can be made, and donors will receive one photograph for each.
Mentally Ill has been awarded grants of $13,950 from four New Jersey
organizations. In March, the
of Princeton donated $800; in April,
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.
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
Writing, Special Purpose Communications, Photography/Illustration,
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
and results, including a description of the target audience and budget
The contest is open to all professional communicators. Call
or visit www.njiabc.com
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