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Tracey Taylor-Huckfield: Managing Grief at Work

As an important part of our financial and social life, the workplace can be an important source of support for employees who have experienced bereavement. However, business leaders and managers are not always aware of the need to provide effective support and encourage open conversations about grief.

This issue is highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic and requires employers to reassess their approach to sad employees so that they can provide adequate support to those who have lost their loved ones. I’m emphasizing.

This work provides advice on how to ensure that your company manages grief in the workplace and is ready to support its employees during this difficult time.



Communication is the key

From September 2019 to September 2020, 24% of the UK workforce experienced bereavement. This is equivalent to about 7.9 million people *. However, one-third of employees who experienced bereavement were not contacted by management or the organization regarding their loss *.

Communication with employees who have experienced bereavement is very important. Employers take the time to talk to employees, offer condolences (and send gifts and cards as needed) to see how individuals are dealing with them during the holidays, and bereaved employees. Need to establish what they want their colleagues to know about their loss. When a sad employee returns to work, the employer must perform regular check-in. It also helps employees feel supported and identify the coordination and communications that managers need.

Failure to provide communication and support can not only leave employees sadly isolated, but can also adversely affect their work relationships. For example, it can result in individuals feeling more reluctant to return, prolonging their recovery to full capacity, or employees leaving the organization altogether. In fact, according to a Hospice UK survey, 56% of people will consider leaving their employer if they do not provide adequate bereavement support **.

Encourage conversations about sadness

Business leaders play an important role in creating an environment where employees can easily talk about sadness. Having the courage to speak openly about the personal experience of death and providing time and space for employees to discuss it normalizes conversations and raises awareness of the resources available to internal and external staff. Helps to enhance. It can also help the process of grief so that the bereaved family can talk about it, share their experiences with colleagues, and not feel the need to crawl grief and emotions.

Show empathy

A recent study reported that employees who were positive about the support they received after experiencing bereavement reported that their employers showed understanding and compassion.

In many cases, empathy can manifest itself in small acts. Don’t face difficult situations, for example, a recently deceased employee greeting a new baby of a colleague after losing himself or temporarily moving away from the need to deal with frustrated or angry customers. To

It may also mean allowing them to start earlier or later if they are upset, or if they think they may need a lighter workload. No loss. By having a conversation, you can consider the support and coordination you need.

I can’t sympathize, but employers are encouraged to actively hold workshops, think about how managers should deal with bereavement, how individuals feel, and share ideas. .. This allows individuals to think about what they will do, create a common language, and build confidence to support bereaved employees.

Implement bereavement policy

In terms of vacation, workload, and shift patterns, it is important to establish a clear framework that outlines what employees can expect from their employers when they experience bereavement. Ensuring that this is communicated throughout the business can give employees some certainty and peace of mind, sending a strong signal that the employer is there for them in times of sadness. can do.

If the manager has a bereavement policy referenced, this allows the line manager to comfortably communicate that the bereaved family is entitled. Without policies, co-workers can be treated inconsistently, making resentment and conversation more difficult.

Encourage time away from work

There is no formula to calculate when to return to work after bereavement, but it is clear that bereaved employees emphasize not being pressured to return to work before they are ready. A recent survey found that 60% of people who experienced bereavement and thought their employers were well-supported said they could take enough vacation as an important action taken by their employers. Masu †. Effective and collaborative conversations allow vacations to be managed and pre-planned in the best way for both employees and employers.

Consider paid bereavement leave

Unfortunately, there is currently no legal requirement for employers to give compassionate leave in the UK, except for parents who have lost their children under the age of 18. Companies typically offer compassionate vacations of 3-5 days, but evidence confirms the case of more compassionate vacations.

For example, according to a recent survey conducted by Sue Ryder, 62% of the adult population believe that paid leave after the death of a parent, partner, sibling, or child is at least one week, and 42% consider it to be two weeks. I think it is. Over a few weeks ‡.

Providing paid bereavement periods not only helps support sad employees, but can also benefit employers in terms of staff retention and productivity.

Signpost external resources

As an important contact for employees who have experienced bereavement, the workplace can provide information on bereavement support available to the wider community. This may include written documentation, physical and virtual support groups, counseling, and group therapy.

However, if an individual finds different forms of support useful, the organization must provide information about available support rather than directing employees to a specific source of support.

Grief is so personal in nature that it can be difficult for an employer to develop a set of practices that suits every situation. However, by implementing these recommendations, the organization will provide adequate support to the bereaved family, while at the same time increasing productivity, reducing long-term bereavement-related absenteeism, and reducing staff turnover in the long run. Can benefit your business.


*: Census Wide / Sulider (September 2020).A survey of 1002 consumers in the UK and 500 respondents who were bereaved in the UK, UK and datasets last year

*: Same as above

**: Hospice UK (2019)’Hospice UK has launched a new program to create a more compassionate workplace and better support its employees’, October 2020

†: Census Wide / Sue Ryder (November 2019). 1,061 UK respondents of bereaved families (16+), UK, dataset.

†: Same as above

‡: Census Wide / Sue Ryder (September 2020).A survey of 1002 consumers in the UK and 500 respondents who were bereaved in the UK, UK and datasets last year

Tracey Taylor-Huckfield: Managing Grief at Work

Source link Tracey Taylor-Huckfield: Managing Grief at Work

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