How To Help Employees After a Death in the Workplace
Published on August 15, 2022
When an employee passes away, the sudden loss may disrupt organizational cohesion and affect the morale of other employees.
The challenge is even more pronounced if employees work virtually since it takes time to mobilize other employees to console the bereaved.
Nevertheless, although death in the workplace affects employee productivity, the human resource department can play a vital role in helping employees recover from grief.
In this post, you’ll discover tips to help employees recover from grief after the death of a colleague in your organization.
Set the Mourning Tone
Leaders set the tone for handling various challenges at work, and death is no exception. As a leader, how you grieve the death of your employees creates a suitable mourning path for other colleagues.
While some leaders may restrain their anger emotions at work, others freely express their sadness following the death. Similarly, employees grieve differently, with others taking longer to recover from the loss, depending on their relationship with the deceased.
Generally, expressing genuine feelings of sadness gives your employees clear guidance on how to mourn their departed colleagues.
Encourage Positive Conversations
Grief can lead to resentment if employees work virtually since there’s no face-to-face interaction. However, working virtually doesn’t mean employees can’t talk about the deceased.
One of the best ways to overcome the grief is to allow positive conversations throughout the organization. For instance, you can meet virtually and discuss plans to give the departed colleague a befitting send-off. You may also appoint a liaison officer to act as the bridge between the family and the organization.
You can also encourage positive conversations by reflecting on the good times you shared as a staff and sending a consolation card to the family.
Provide Long term Employee Support
Employees feel motivated when they know their organization cares about their welfare, especially in times of grief. That’s why you should have a long-term support plan for all employees when bereaved.
Some suitable long-term support efforts include forming work-based support groups, financial assistance programs for bereaved families, and random seminars about mental health management.
Create Rituals for Consolation
Traditionally, most organizations use conventional consolation methods such as attending in-person funeral programs. However, with more employees working remotely, traditional mourning rituals may not be effective.
Companies should therefore create unique rituals to connect and mourn the death of a co-worker. For example, most companies now take advantage of virtual memorial events incorporating candle lighting, slide shows, and virtual gardens. In addition, some companies plant trees in honor of the departed co-worker.
Give Time Off if Necessary
Employees may express different feelings regarding the death of a co-worker. Some may succumb to disbelief, fear, anger outburst, or sadness. In worst situations, some employees may lose concentration during the grieving moment.
An excellent way to help employees recover from grief is to give time off if necessary. Thus, you can negotiate a return-to-work date to allow employees deeply affected to recover.
Published on August 15, 2022