Cabinet was told that around 4,000 PPS numbers have been issued to arriving Ukrainian refugees so far. Government ministers say they expect between 80,000 and 100,000 Ukrainian nationals may end up moving here.
How can businesses best support Ukrainian refugees through work?
Now is the time when businesses can step up to support refugees. The first step to helping, is to recognise the variety of expertise and skills refugees have. In practice, this may mean revising recruitment practices to better recognise qualifications and experience gained from those applying.
Employers would also do well to review their employment programmes to see what needs to be adapted to welcome refugee candidates, and for businesses to connect with expert partners that are able to provide the holistic support that refugees may need, especially if they are newly arrived in the country.
Above all, employers need to understand that they should handle the situation with care and empathy, as refugees may face barriers including low confidence and past trauma. But by stepping up to train and employ refugees, employers will change lives for the better while addressing a business-critical issue in a very tight labour market.
Ngozi Weller, director of Aurora Wellness, urges employees to think about how they are going to fully support any refugees they employ. “This is a responsibility and you have to take all the baggage that comes too,” she says. Managers need to be proactive in providing help, and not wait for people to ask.
She also advised firms to check their employee assistance programme to see whether it covers the support that individuals who have faced trauma from events such as war might need. If it doesn’t, employers will need to consider what can be given in its place and make sure employees know it is there.
It’s important that managers don’t try to be counsellors themselves, but that refugees have access to qualified counsellors who are equipped to deal with the experiences the refugees have potentially been through – and Weller suggests employers don’t rely on publicly provided counselling provisions for this to happen.
Employers can help refugees integrate into the workplace; assigning a work buddy can help individuals quickly understand a job function, while offering flexible working can support them back into work. For some, just being at work and having everyday conversations with colleagues could be beneficial to their wellbeing, Weller notes, taking some of the focus away from what’s happening at home.
Source: People Management Magazine