In the beverage industry, employees are our most valuable resource. For Coca-Cola Consolidated, caring for teammates at work includes a unique partnership with Corporate Chaplains of America (CCA). Robert Hudson, Regional Vice President at CCA shared more how Consolidated provides care in the workplace through CCA.
What is the chaplain program at Coke Consolidated?
The CCA Chaplain program provides care in the workplace. We understand at times life can be messy. There are things we all deal with both at work and at home. Anything from finances, stress, anxiety, family issues, work issues, etc. The Chaplain is someone who can come along side you and help with these among other issues. It’s an opportunity to provide Care in the Workplace.
How do your employees access the program?
There are multiple ways to access the program. The first is our Chaplains are onsite and visible. We do what we call “rounds” at the Coke locations each week. The purpose of these “rounds” are to be visible and develop caring relationships. That way when you have a need, there’s a familiar friendly face in the Chaplain. In addition, the Chaplains are available 24/7/365 via our Care Now paging system and our Chap App available on iPhone and Android platforms.
How do employees view the program?
The program is built on three pillars: it’s voluntary, permission based and confidential.
Voluntary- If the employee doesn’t want to talk to a Chaplain it’s not required, and we will respect their privacy.
Permission Based- The Chaplain will never discuss anything without the employee’s permission. We are there as a friend and resource. The last thing we want to do is make anyone uncomfortable.
Confidential- Finally, confidentiality which is the most important pillar. Everything the Chaplain and employee discuss is held in the strictest of confidence. The Chaplain doesn’t share that with anyone. The only exception would be if the employee tells us they are going to hurt themselves or someone else. Then we are required to seek outside help.
Due to these three pillars, most employees view the program very highly. It allows the Chaplain to be a trusted and confidential resource.
What do they find most helpful?
The caring relationship of the Chaplain and the vast resources the Chaplains have available for help.
What lead you personally to this work?
Most of our Chaplains were led to do this because the care and want to make a difference. All our Chaplains have experience in corporate America and are very aware of the issues employees face both at work and at home. It’s this desire to help that keeps most Chaplains going every day.
How did the pandemic impact the program?
The pandemic has had a major impact on the workplace and Chaplaincy. To start, our program is built on developing relationships. That’s been more difficult with employees working remotely. Even within the workplace it’s been difficult with masking and social distancing to connect and build relationships. We’ve also seen increased issues among employees, with stress and anxiety being at the top.
Were more employees seeking help?
Yes. We’ve seen increased participation mainly due to higher levels of need due to the pandemic with everything from stress and anxiety to financial and family issues. Employees just need someone to talk to who can provide encouragement and care.
How do you get employees additional help beyond the scope of your chaplain program?
Each Chaplain prepares a “resource” book. This is a list of local resources to provide for items we may not be equipped to handle. We look to contact and build relationships with these resources so that we know they are a reliable and trusted source.