Issue: Reservists returning from war create special challenges for your work force and your organization.
Risk: Loss of productivity and distractions among staff; reservists may face challenges at work and at home.
Action: Be flexible with reservists. Give them a chance to talk if needed. Plan a Q&A brown-bag lunch on the first day back to get those inevitable questions out of the way. Know the law on rehiring, pay and benefits.
As more U.S. military personnel return home from Iraq, you must be prepared to help your returning reservists settle in. Some will have trouble adjusting to the new landscape, as will employees who have family members returning from war.
Returning soldiers may feel uncomfortable coming back to a predictable routine in a confined space. They may feel the need for new challenges. Some might adjust to the job itself but have workplace problems that stem from readjusting to family life.
Advice: Meet with reservists on their first day back to work. Explain any changes in the company, such as new procedures, staff or customers.
Advise employees not to badger returning soldiers with questions about the war; they might not want to talk about it.
Still, productivity could suffer because some reservists may need to tell war stories or respond to questions. That's why you may want to set aside a Q&A brown-bag lunch on the first day back to get those questions out of the way.
Finally, watch for signs of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. It could take months for symptoms to appear. Signs include carelessness, tardiness and low productivity.
Free report: To learn the legalities surrounding the pay, benefits and retention of reservists, obtain a free copy of our E-visory report,Laws: An Employer's Guide, by visiting www.hrspecialist.net/extra.
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