Workplace Option’s latest survey on handling traumatic incidents in the workplace illuminates a dire need for HR to step in and create new procedures.

Employees need support and guidance after traumatic events – like the sudden loss of a colleague or a natural disaster – but only 26 percent of workers are getting it.

Most employees surveyed by Workplace Options (WPO) have worked for an organization that experienced a traumatic event. More than half of them said that a disaster recovery plan (DRP) or business continuity plan (BCP) wasn’t in place to help employees affected by the event – or if there was nobody told them about it.

DRP’s are a valuable benefit for nearly 70 percent of employees and should be a priority for  employers. It’s estimated that less than half of employers have a DRP or BCP plan in place, but they’re critical for dealing with disasters.

Dean Debnam, chief executive officer at WPO, said, “Preparing for a potential traumatic event, and providing proper services for your employees if one should ever occur is hugely important to the resilience of your organization.” It’s true, between 40 to 60 percent of companies without a DRP or BCP never reopen after facing a disaster and a whopping 75 percent fail within three years, according to research from Open Access BPO.

These numbers might refer specifically to large scale natural disasters, but less extreme traumatic incidents take a toll on business too. Debnam said, “Providing education to managers and employees on available benefits leads to less risk of absenteeism and presenteeism of affected employees.”

Natural disasters, layoffs, workplace violence and sudden deaths are most emotionally stressful and traumatic for employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates nearly 2 million American workers are victims of workplace violence each year, and that’s only counting reported incidents. There were over 19.9 million layoffs in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Natural disasters are traumatic for the entire community. The claims process for insurable losses can be consuming and without a DRP or BCP in place employees who need assistance recovering might not get it.

It’s critical to have the right plan in place to maintain strong leadership when facing the unthinkable. Review and develop a disaster recovery plan or business continuity plan to make sure it addresses these four traumatic incidents that affect your employees most to bounce back productively while retaining top talent.