Aiding Grieving Employees

As much as we hate to deal with it, tragedy can and will strike our families and our employees and can do so at any given time. The loss of a parent, child, or other close family member can be devastating and the last thing your team member is thinking about is work.

Your job will be to help find ways in which your organisation can help your employees deal with their situations. It is incredibly important for you to recognize that a person who returns to work after only a few days, even weeks, is not fully recovered and will not be able to give you 100% of his attention. This is normal and is something you’ll have to learn to work with.

So what are some things you can do to help support a grieving employee?

  • Learn about the stages of grief so that you can understand exactly what your employee is going through at any given time.
  • Have your entire team sign a sympathy card to show their support.
  • Personally communicate with your employee as often as possible to ensure he’s really ready to come back to work.
  • Consider modifying your employee’s job duties, work hours, or method of communication (telecommuting instead of coming into the office) as necessary until he is ready to make a full reentry.
  • Monitor him closely to make sure he stays on track as much as possible.
  • Encourage the use of your organisation’s counseling services.

You can’t take back whatever tragedy your employee is suffering from but you can show a generous amount of compassion and support – and your employees will appreciate you for it and remember that support for a long time.

Thanks again,


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   

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Updated on: 18 December, 2009

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