I think sometimes that businesses become overwhelmed with the idea of helping grieving employees because of personal discomfort with grief (right in line with our culture at large) and because it’s not a high priority or a line item on the budget. And yet, it impacts the bottom line in ways businesses can’t imagine. We’re all going to be there folks! Sooner or later we will all be the person who’s experienced a death, the person caring for a dying person or aging relative, the person who’s witnessed or experienced a traumatic incident, the person who’s going through another major life transition. Here are 3 inexpensive ways to address the needs of grieving employees that don’t cost a lot:
1. Designate a room for quiet with books on grief, a comfortable chair (maybe 2 in case the person wants support) and an atmosphere of peace where one can escape, if only briefly if needed. Don’t have a small room to use? Designate part of the lunch room as an area where Books on grief, loss and transition can be kept for employees wishing to borrow them to read.
2. Designate someone to be in charge of memorial gifts. Follow your bereavement policy re: which deaths to recognize and find a more lasting gift than flowers to send such as a candle and a good basic book on grief to gift your grieivng employees with. Keep this signature gift standard for all.
3. Before your employee returns to work after a death, make contact with them to ask how they want to be approached at work by others who care; then ask permission to share that with co-workers so all will know whether it’s okay to talk about the loss at work.
These are just a few ways businesses can show they care. Afraid that the employee will be thinking about their grief at work if it’s acknowledged? Guess what? They already are! Making a few moves to ensure their grief is acknowledged even in small ways will build loyalty toward the businesses in ways few other actions can.
How employees are treated during the worst time of their lives can make or break employee loyalty and productivity. If you are looking to make your business one of compassion, balancing that with productivity and would like to have your HR department and managers trained, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how training can benefit your employees and your bottom line.