<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=349935452247528&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Search
word-map-thumb

The Alternative Board Blog

Dealing with Grief in the Workplace

Nov. 24, 2020 | Posted by Jodie Shaw

 

One of the most difficult things a leader will have to deal with in the workplace is the death of an employee. Whether the result of ongoing health complications or a tragic accident, a death in the company requires nuanced, careful handling.

In recent times, I have been reminded of life’s fragility on more than one occasion. One of my team members experienced a family tragedy and came to me to discuss how their grief would impact them at work.

... there is a discomfort that surrounds grief. It makes even the most well-intentioned people unsure of what to say. And so many of the freshly bereaved end up feeling even more alone. - Meghan O'Rourke

Whether the grief is experienced at a company-wide level or is more intimately confined – no amount of training can prepare a leader to assist the team in their mourning. But how you deal with death in the workplace is an incredibly important topic.

Here are some of my suggestions:

Reach out to your team: This is an emotional time for your team. Everyone reacts to grief differently, and unexpected emotions may arise in the workplace. Let your staff know about available support services, and reach out individually to let them know they can come talk to you – especially if you notice a staff member whose mood or behavior has changed drastically.

Be open with information: It’s natural for your team to have questions and concerns about the deceased’s situation, memorial services, and the impact on ongoing work logistics. Be as forthcoming as you can without overstepping the bounds of professionalism to help other employees process their loss.

Encourage connection: The family of the deceased employee may be touched to learn how he or she was remembered in the workplace. You may offer to gather condolence cards and deliver them to the family. Physical gestures, such as cooking meals or making a donation in the memory of the deceased may also be appreciated.

Encourage remembrance: Creating a group response in memory of the deceased can be a meaningful way for your team to process grief. Choose something that allows for different levels of participation and respects your team members’ need to process their emotions differently. Examples might be:

  • Create a memorial bulletin board with photos and other meaningful images.
  • Hold a workplace event such as a luncheon or reception in honor of the deceased employee.
  • Create a memory book filled with sentiments from coworkers to give to family.
  • Hold a fundraiser dedicated to the deceased employee in order to make a charitable donation.

Above all, remind your team that your door is always open, and be sensitive in your approach.

It’s my hope that you may never have to encounter a situation where you need to manage a team through the death of one of their coworkers – but if you do, understand that each loss will be felt as distinctly as the employee who has been lost was unique.

Have you ever dealt with grief in the workplace? What are some of the lessons you learned?

 

Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board

DOWNLOAD

Written by Jodie Shaw

Jodie is responsible for growing the brand internationally and helping TAB Business Owners attract new TAB Members in their local markets.

Related posts

A Guide For CEOs —11 Ways To Make An Impact In Your First 90 days
Jul. 13, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Your first 90 days as CEO will set the tone for your entire tenure in the organization. Therefore, this is a crucial time, and the goal is to establish your credibility and trust, so the team and the...
Tuna not Perch- Pursuing Significance
Jul. 13, 2021 | Posted by Jim Gerberman
It's hard to imagine a more difficult time for being an effective business leader. Correspondingly, finding significance in what we do has never seemed more fleeting...and, necessary. As we all...
A Guide to Finding the Right Peer Advisory Group For Your Needs
Jul. 6, 2021 | Posted by Phil Spensieri
As business leaders, we all know it can be “lonely at the top”. This is one of the key reasons that so many entrepreneurs seek out a peer advisory group - an organization whose main purpose is to...
13 Lessons In What NOT To Do In Your Business
Jun. 9, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
There are many things successful business owners consciously steer clear of while going about running and growing their business. We asked 13 TAB members what they believe entrepreneurs should...
Let Employee Recognition Drive Your Culture
Jun. 4, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
All businesses claim to value their employees and to be committed to a culture that recognizes and rewards employee achievements. But success in this effort may be elusive, particularly if employers...
14 Habits Of Highly Successful Business Owners
May. 21, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Success doesn't happen by chance. Highly successful entrepreneurs share many habits, and they often incorporate small practices into their daily routine. We asked our TAB members what habits have...
Use Your Company Culture as a Competitive Advantage
May. 18, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Every business needs a competitive edge, whether it’s in the quality of their products or services, their dedication to customers, or some other aspect they can leverage to outdo their competitors....
When the Time Comes to Fire a Family Member
May. 11, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Terminating an employee isn’t something business owners and CEOs relish. When the situation demands some drastic action, however, it’s necessary to follow through for the good of the business. The...
17 Essential Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs - Part 1
May. 10, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
While a great idea and some capital may be essential for a successful business, the most critical ingredient for a successful venture remains the entrepreneur. This is why many successful venture...
How to Sell During Times of Uncertainty
May. 6, 2021 | Posted by Phil Spensieri
If your business is struggling right now, you may be wondering if there’s anything you can do to improve your sales. While there’s no guarantee that any specific strategy will accomplish this during...