By Jenny Fujita and Joy Miura Koerte, Fujita & Miura Public Relations
It’s difficult to think about the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech and come away with any feelings but sadness and despair. Every time events like these occur, the world asks, “How could this happen?” We’d like to suggest that we start asking a different question: “How can peace happen?” When you look at crises from that angle, it changes the way you prepare for the future. And, focusing your communications on your ideal outcome is good PR.
It would be impossible to consider every disastrous scenario, though many businesses and governments attempt to do so. They create emergency preparedness plans for fires, floods, hurricanes, etc., do drills, have violence in the workplace trainings, and otherwise prepare for the worst. Of course this needs to be done, especially on Kaua`i where we have been in the path of several hurricanes. How would things be, however, if in addition to preparing for the worst, we were to prepare for the best?
Preparing for the best is two-pronged. It includes prevention and planning. For example, on the prevention end, look at your workforce to assess what problems can be prevented right now. Are there relationship issues that need to be ironed out, an employee who might need counseling, or an unfairness that needs to be righted? As for planning for the best, are there programs you can implement now to make for a happier work environment? How can you infuse fun and local style into your business? Simple gestures like handwriting mahalo notes, having an employee contest with a nice prize, or treating your employees to lunch can make a big difference and go a long way towards peace in the workplace. And although sometimes it feels like peace, in the grand sense, is a long way away, we can prepare for it in many small ways every day.