Mourners place flowers and pictures in the name cut-out of Kyung Hee (Casey) Cho at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, in New York. Americans are commemorating 9/11 as a new national crisis in the form of the coronavirus pandemic reconfigures and divides anniversary ceremonies and a presidential campaign carves a path through the observances (John Minchillo/AP/Shutterstock)

Remembering 9/11: What Companies Can Learn About Addressing Crisis

On the 11th day in September 2001, when 19 hijackers took over four West Coast-destined planes, 2,977 people, ranging from 2 to 85 years old, died. 

Three hundred and forty-three were FDNY firefighters, 23 NYPD, and 37 were Port Authority officers. An attack that experts say cost approximately $500,000 to plan and execute resulted in the $123 billion economic loss the first four weeks after the first plane crashed.  

Nineteen years later, younger employees may hardly remember the attacks, others can recall every detail of the day and may have even lost loved ones as a result. Addressing the event that changed America’s national security, industry and morale is important in ensuring your workforce knows that even as time passes, our country will never forget those who lost their lives on 9/11.

Response to Sept. 11 offers insights into crisis communication — wisdom your organization can continue to glean nearly two decades later. Here are three ways to address 9/11 in your workplace in 2020.

Focus on employee morale.

In a 2002 issue of the Harvard Business Review, author Paul A. Argenti wrote about the importance of employee well-being and morale. Argenti explained that before businesses contemplated how to reassure customers and investors, they must prioritize their workforce. These lessons apply in 2020, especially as we face a different crisis: COVID-19. Check in on your teams, especially on the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001. Encourage reflection. Success begins from the inside and starts with employees feeling supported and heard.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), support in times of crisis help employees perform at their best. “A wealth of research shows that a supportive work environment enhances health and well-being, especially during times of crisis,” the APA states.

Offer resources beyond your own internal communications.

Post-traumatic stress and other anxiety reactions can affect many in the wake of a crisis. Those with vivid memories of 9/11 might feel those traumas reignite on the anniversary. Make clear any resources your company may offer to help them cope with the difficult day.

In regard to addressing crises, the APA says, “Professional mental health counseling from a qualified professional should also be made available and encouraged but should not be mandatory.”

As a result of COVID-19, many companies have offered resources to employees in the form of wellness-tracking and support apps — technological offerings not nearly as available in the early 2000s. Kaiser Permanente introduced the myStrength app during the COVID-19 crisis and Marriott recently introduced the meQuilibrium app as well. These resources available to employees gained traction as a result of the pandemic, but are positive tools moving forward as well.


In the early 2000s when the fear of further foreign attacks on the U.S. was palpable, employees wanted to be sure their leaders could communicate with them when crisis hit. “Whether natural or man-made, disasters often disrupt normal flows of communication,” Argenti wrote. “Phone lines and power lines may be destroyed. Computer networks may go down. Groups of employees may be stranded or isolated. This was certainly the situation many companies faced after 9/11.”

Although technology is more effective nearly 20 years later, communication through various channels is still important — and the fear of disaster continues to loom in this volatile global environment. Since most employees are likely still working remotely as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, now might be the best time to get creative with how you might want to reach out to them to discuss the anniversary of 9/11 and the emotions that come with it. Video chats, webinar-like presentations or inter-company forums are all positive platforms to engage in discussion.

Share ways your company has adjusted to crisis-response in a post-9/11 world and discuss how new technologies have affected your crisis plans. Though most organizations are unlikely to directly suffer terrorist attacks, plans that address how to respond to crisis and violence can quell uneasiness and help employees feel equipped to handle uncertainty.

“Involving employees in emergency planning is critical to foster a sense of control, which is essential for employee well-being and productivity,” the APA advises. “Encouraging employees to establish back up plans for themselves and their dependents could further enhance well-being.”

Latest News

Justice for Breonna not served; The essential rule of politics; Teen serves two months in jail for not doing homework; and More

Justice for Breonna not served as grand jury indicted officer who shot her with wanton endangerment — but not murder. “Outrageous and offensive.” Those were  by attorney to the family, Ben Crump to describe the grand jury’s decision in the March 13 fatal police shooting of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor. While…

IBM, EEOC, age

EEOC Unearths Years of Intentional Age Discrimination within IBM

After a long investigation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has revealed that IBM leaders had directed managers to replace older workers with younger ones. Between 2013 and 2018, nearly 86% of those considered for layoffs within the organization were older employees over the age of 40. The investigation showed…

Breathe March in Globe Park, New York, USA - 12 Sep 2020

Cities under attack from the Justice Department; Louisville bracing for the Breonna Taylor murder charge; Twitter reveals its racist side; and More

Justice department attacks three U.S. cities, declaring them anarchist zones — despite most of the protests that took place in each city being peaceful marches in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. In a move designed to pull federal funding from New York City, Seattle and Portland, OR, the…

ginsburg, supreme, court

The Lasting Legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — Plus the Four Biggest Issues Currently at Stake Following Her Death

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who served on the nation’s highest court for 27 years, passed away Friday, Sept. 18 at the age 87. “As the second woman ever to sit on the highest court in the land, she was a warrior for gender equality — someone who believed…

Abbott Receives CE Mark for Next-Generation Mitraclip Heart Valve Repair Device to Treat Mitral

Originally posted on – CE Mark for MitraClip G4 offers physicians an innovative next-generation system with more options for mitral valve repair using proven clip-based technology – MitraClip is a first-of-its-kind transcatheter mitral valve therapy, now on its fourth generation, improving further on MitraClip’s history as a safe and…

Cox Crews Mobilized to Reconnect Gulf Coast

Originally published on Cox has mobilized its employees with support from outside of the Gulf Coast area to begin assessing damage and restoring service outages caused by Hurricane Sally. In times like this, we understand it is important to stay connected and we want our services to help you…

BASF Invests Into Pyrum as Part of its ChemCyclingTM Project

Originally published on  Pyrolysis oil from waste tires as additional raw material source next to oil from mixed plastic waste Investment will support construction of additional production capacities for pyrolysis oil Milestone in establishing a circular economy for post-consumer plastic waste Pyrolysis oil will partly replace fossil feedstock and…