How to Help Coworkers Dealing With Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Has Skyrocketed: Here’s How You Can Help

Domestic Violence and Workplace

By Ashley Ward

As many of us are painfully well aware, mid-January, the novel coronavirus introduced itself to America. By mid-March, the virus had spread throughout the nation and forced us to alter our daily lives in order to stop the spread. 

That meant closing everything except essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies. We had to say goodbye to our local shops, our favorite coffee spots, our gyms and even our offices so we could stay home and stay safe. 

The problem is, home isn’t safe for everyone. In fact, for individuals living in a domestically abusive situation, home is likely one of the least safe places right now. Domestic violence shelters have seen an influx of calls since the start of the pandemic, creating yet another public health crisis.

There Are Plenty of Factors Contributing to This Spike in Domestic Violence. 

1. Isolation

Social isolation is a common tactic used by abusers to gain more control of their partners. With shelter in place orders, isolation is a given and abusers are able to gaslight their partners and add to a cycle of abuse that is difficult to escape.

2. Stress

Elevated levels of stress due to a national crisis are correlated to increased aggression, causing a more hostile environment for those living with abusers.

3. Economic Anxiety and Joblessness

As abusers get furloughed and laid off, they find an increased need to regain a sense of order and power in their relationships. This leads to increased violence toward their partners. Survivors of domestic violence who have been furloughed or laid off find their plans to gain financial independence have fallen apart. 

4. Alcohol

With alcohol sales rising by 243%, bad situations have only turned worse. Often an accelerator of aggression, alcohol contributes to hostile situations and increased abuse.

5. Lack of Resources

While courts remain open for urgent matters, there still have been delays in restraining order cases. With legal aid organizations and advocates working remotely, assistance for survivors is affected. Also, there has been speculation that judges might be hesitant to hold abusers in jail due to COVID-19 concerns in state facilities. 

This Could Be Happening to Your Employees and Coworkers

Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions of domestic violence is that it doesn’t happen to anyone we know. With one in four women and one in seven men experiencing physical violence from their partner, it’s incredibly likely that you know someone dealing with this during this time, you just don’t know it. 

How Can You Help?

While we can’t fix anything for them, we can certainly provide life-changing support to our affected employees and colleagues during this time. 

1. Reach Out

It’s important to keep lines of communication open with those who may be experiencing abuse at home. Be friendly, be open, check in frequently.

It’s important to remember, however, that an abusive partner may be monitoring all of their communication. Don’t discuss any concerns until a survivor discloses abuse to you, then make sure you find out which forms of communication are safest for them and least likely to be viewed by their partner. 

2. Send Necessities

Find out if your colleague or employee needs food, transportation or household supplies of any sort. You could drop items off to them, send them money through cash apps, or send care packages. Share knowledge and information on local food banks, food stamp options, or even unemployment information

3. Do the Research for Them

Providing someone with information or a trained professional to call can be invaluable. While resources are tight and getting tighter for domestic violence programs, there are still people who can help.

It’s very important to remember that communication could be monitored by the abuser, so a good idea may be to share a list of resources with all of your colleagues or employees as a general resource for support.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or

The National Sexual Assault Hotline is 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or

The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline is 1-800-4A-CHILD (422-4453) or

Latinx survivors can reach out to Casa de Esperanza at 1-651-772-1611 or

Native American and Alaska Native individuals can reach out to the StrongHearts Native Helpline at 1-844-7NATIVE (762-8483) or

LGBTQ people can reach out to the Anti-Violence Project Hotline at 1-212-714-1141 or, or the Northwest Network at

Young people experiencing relationship or domestic violence can contact Love Is Respect at 1-866-331-9474 or

LGBTQ young people who may be experiencing abuse because of their gender identity or sexuality can contact the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or

4. Consider Financial Consequences

As an employer, it is never easy to make the tough decision to lay someone off. However, there should be an increased responsibility to think through the long-term financial impact of these attempts to conserve resources through reduction of pay and layoffs especially for an employee who may be in an abusive relationship. 

5. Donate to Your Local Shelters and Agencies

Many nonprofits have had to cancel fundraising events due to COVID-19 and also have had a decrease in donations as so many people are affected by the financial impacts of this pandemic. If you’re able to give, now is the time to do so. At Hire for Hope, we partner with Safe Haven Ministries to help make sure that survivors have access to their life-changing support and services.

Safe Haven Ministries is on a mission to end domestic violence. Watch this video to learn more.

If you or someone you know are facing domestic violence, please reach out for support here.


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Employee Engagement

How To Keep Your Employees Engaged During and Long After a Pandemic

Employee Engagement- Woman at Desk

By Ashley Ward

As the COVID-19 pandemic forces more and more Americans to work remotely, the question on my mind has been – to what effect, does working independently have on an employee’s personal outlook and mindset? 

From the words of Bob Nelson, “an employee’s motivation is a direct result of the sum of interactions with his or her manager.” 

With the state of the world right now, managers are definitely limited in the number of interactions they can have with their employees. (There is only so much Zoom one can handle.) 

Based on a recent report from CNBC, 60% of respondents feel either as productive or even more productive than when they were working at an office, leaving many individuals to report that they don’t even want to go back to the office. 

A new employee engagement study done by Leadership IQ reveals that an employee’s mindset, such as their resilience and optimism, actually matters more than having a great manager. There are actually 18 outlooks that can increase positive feelings at work – as shown in the photo below.


Self Engagement- 18 Outlooks

Outlooks such as these are not exclusively intrinsic. These mindsets can definitely be developed and improved by oneself and an office environment. So, is it still worthwhile to have good managers? Of course. A positive team leader and collaborative team players are crucial to creating effective outcomes and a supportive work environment.

But what we are finding more and more, is that not only can these 18 outlooks lead to an increase in career satisfaction, inspiration and employee engagement, but this research is also showing us that executives, HR leaders and managers need to spend more time and effort on developing their employee’s outlooks, such as resilience and optimism. The role of the manager is still vital in employee engagement as managers can help shape employee outlooks. 

Ginny Koole, Hire for Hope’s Talent Advisor, believes “a good manager is key no matter your wiring or mindset. It can take the most resilient person down.” 

She also stresses the importance of the manager’s own engagement with the needs of their employees. 

“Some people,” she reminds, “myself included, tend to need more from a manger. Others, not so much. That is why it’s so important to know what your employee needs!”

If the research does not speak to you, just think about your own team – you treat them all equally, give them the same amount of attention, but some are coping with this crisis better than others and it’s important to remember that some are dealing with a myriad of challenges and loss. While some may be struggling, others are thriving – some even thriving to the point where they get more work done at home than in the office.

The difference that lies between those who struggle and thrive during times of crisis depends on their mindset. Those who work with a positive attitude and remain resilient despite whatever obstacle or challenge arises can achieve much greater success than those who crumble in the face of difficulty.

As Malcolm Galdwell once said, “It’s not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between 9 and 5. It’s whether or not our work fulfills us.” 

Predictive Index defines employee engagement as the emotional commitment an employee has toward their organization and its goals. Within Predictive Index’s Talent Optimization framework, they refer to the 4 forces of employee disengagement: job fit, manager, team, and culture. If you have a job that’s a great fit, you love your manager, your team, and the culture, then the odds are really good that you will be highly engaged (going above and beyond). 

It’s important to find the right people strategy and the employees with the hard wiring that lends itself to success at your company. Know what drives your employees so you’re able to provide the support they need to stay highly engaged. Let’s use this time as a chance to grow — a chance to support our employees’ outlook on life and their work so they can leave each day feeling satisfied and fulfilled.

Do you have questions about how to increase your employee engagement? Email Hire for Hope’s Talent Advisor, Ginny Koole at


Main Photo by Polina Zimmerman from Pexels