During your career, there’s a very real chance that you’ll encounter a grieving employee. Since few of us have the luxury of taking an extended leave, a significant part of the grieving process will take place at work.
Though most of us try to check our personal troubles at the door when we enter the workplace, grief isn’t an emotion that can be so easily regulated. No matter how much work has piled up or how many deadlines you’re going to miss, you will have to accommodate your employee’s needs. Simply telling him or her to “move on” or “cheer up” is likely to leave them even more upset and even antagonized.
Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of the situation, such as an emotionally unstable team member, a depressed mood, or lower productivity, focus on the positive aspects. This is the perfect opportunity to show your grieving employee, as well as other team members, that they are valued by you and the company. By respecting what he or she is going through and creating a supportive environment, they are likely to become more engaged with the company. In addition, supporting employees in this way will enhance your employer brand by demonstrating that you don’t take your people for granted but instead, care deeply about their wellbeing.
Support strategiesNot all people need the same kind of support when they’re grieving, so not all of the following strategies will apply in each instance of a loss. Use only those that make sense for the individual situation.
Supporting a grieving employee can be difficult, yet it’s important. Keep the above tips in mind and if you need further assistance, discuss the situation with your HR department.
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