There are more storms coming- in the form of hurricanes, or forest fires, or blizzards, or tornadoes, or floods... Despite our best efforts, we can never insulate or isolate ourselves from the enormity of earth's environment. Natural disasters, as these are called, and social disasters, including poverty, homelessness, disease, crime..., affect great swaths of our world, our nations, our communities, and our lives. The effects ripple through our families and values, our economy, and our social ego, and can be lasting for years to come.
OK, so I don't mean to bring everyone down first thing on Friday. So, what exactly can HR professionals, recruiters, and job seekers do to help out when disasters like this arise? How can we help our fellow Americans in a time of need? What special skills can we provide that will make a difference?
The company I work for hosts a Louisiana-specific internet job board, and ideas were floated yesterday to see what could be done. I thought I'd share what we are trying to do, along with some other thoughts on what we can do in times like these. Our first thought was that there would be a substantial need for volunteers and assistance in the clean up efforts. We are reaching out to the parishes and community centers that have phones and electricity and offering to post those needs at not cost on our sites. Of course a primary obstacle that we are facing is that many people in the region may not have access to the web, including the government centers. If you are in, or know of anyone in a position to take advantage of this offer, please have them contact the company. Our thoughts were that we could help find and mobilize those who were looking for work, but also cared about helping the community.
As HR professionals, recruiters, advertising resources, and job seekers we all have roles we can play to help out. Below are just a couple ideas that came to me, and I'd love to hear your comments on other ideas you may have.
- Advertising resources: Give freely of your inventory. Go out of your way to reach those who can be reached and find out what information or call for assistance needs to be broadcast. Offer special rates WHEREVER YOU ARE to companies and send a % to the relief or rebuilding efforts in the are. This is a great opportunity for you to join in what Bill Gates discussed in the July 31 issue of TIME- Creative Capitalism.
- Recruiters: Know people who are out of work right now? Blue collar, white collar, or no collar makes no difference- find out what efforts require volunteers, get the details, and pick up the phone to call your candidates. If they are not starting a job today or in the next few days, give them information on how they can put their time to good use. It's not only good for the people in need, but good for the emotional and psychological state of those out of work- and can be a strong resume builder. Use your vast networks to raise money for any relief efforts that you are comfortable with.
- HR Professionals: Make it your job to know what support those who are affected by the disaster need. Communicate it to your company, and give detailed instructions on how they can help. Consider suggesting a one-time donation be made today, or give workers transportation to Red Cross stations to donate blood, if money is not an option. Connect with local HR professionals in the area, and start a sister HR partnership to help support any local efforts.
- Job Seekers: Invest in your self and the country by volunteering to assist with any clean up or rebuilding needs. You don't need any special skills aside from the desire to help. Look for ways that you can help either in the area that is affected, or in your own home town. Give Blood. Help load food supplies at food banks. Help answer phones at crisis relief centers. Be involved in crises that affect or country. Doing good plants seeds for goodness to come back to you. Volunteerism is an amazing experience and can help refocus your career choices, and help you build your resume.