Handling Grief in the Workplace – Pt. 2

Part 2 Advice for Helping the Grieving Work Team

Stacey, a dedicated employee of a mid-sized accounting firm, suffered a heart attack in her late forties. After the standard medical leave time, she had to take additional time to fully recover from the heart attack. She shared with me that her manager was OK about her taking the additional time. However she sensed that the upper management of the firm was not happy about her slow pace in returning to her prior level of productivity and the amount of work she was completing. In time she did manage to return to her prior level of productivity but about 6 months after returning to work full time Stacey decided to leave the firm due to what she perceived as “poor” treatment of her health condition and the firm lost a dedicated employee.

During times of grief, balancing productivity and compassion can be a difficult challenge for managers. Unfortunately, most businesses cannot afford to halt production, sales or services to accommodate grief. Instead they continue in the mode of "business as usual”. Following are some suggestions that will help you and your team through times of grief that will help maintain balance.

Suggestions for guiding your team through loss

  • Speak with the family or employee to determine what they want to share with the team.
  • Check with your HR dept. to be sure that you know company policy and recommendations for handling the grief/loss event.
  • Hold a team meeting to provide details of the grief, illness or other loss event.
  • Work with your team to decide best course of action to express sympathy or provide support to the employee or family.
  • Put a plan in place to handle workload of affected employee; temporarily or permanently.
  • Follow up with a sense of urgency to ensure that redistributed workload is manageable and that the team is handling the change OK.
  • If necessary, plan to meet individually with employees that are not coping well with changes resulting from the loss.
  • Provide resources for additional help if employee needs more assistance.

To view part 2, click here

About Us:

Linda Trignano is a professional Coach who provides Grief Coaching & Consulting to managers, individuals and teams in handling grief in the workplace. Throughout our process you become more aware of the impact of grief and how it affects your team. We provide a custom plan to positively impact your grieving employee and your team. Call for a complimentary

You can reach us at www.griefcoaching.com or by calling 973-722-9961.

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