Creating a Trauma-Aware Workplace

According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, 6 in 10 men and 5 in 10 women will experience some sort of trauma in their lives.  Moreover, most of us will experience a trauma that could lead to PTSD.  

Of those who experience trauma, 70-90 percent of individuals will not do the work to move past their trauma.  Less than 30% of individuals will take the steps to manage their adversity and 5% of individuals truly take the time to heal from their traumas and harness their true potential.  I truly believe it’s that 5% that become leaders that others look up to.  Those leaders are tough, yet vulnerable.  They possess a presence that encourages others to listen and follow.  They provide hope for a fruitful future.

Most importantly, these 5% recognize the need for trauma-aware workplaces.  Here are some ways to create a trauma-informed workplace:

  • Provide opportunities to learn about trauma and how to act around each other.
  • Create a workplace culture that prioritizes safety, trust, and open communication.
  • Practice empathy and compassion – learn what to say and do when confronted with someone experiencing the effects of trauma.
  • Provide and promote resources such as counseling, employee assistance programs, or mental health support.
  • Be flexible and accommodating for team members who need support.
  • Promote self-care in the workplace and a work/life balance.
  • Address or minimize triggers in the workplace.
  • Assess what is working and adapt policies to address weak points.