How to help your staff through the grieving process

When a staff member experiences a death, it’s a tough time as you support them. Whether it’s a colleague who’s passed away or a personal family death, it’s devastating and affects a person in all aspects of their life.

grieving processAs the boss of a company, you need to take steps to ensure you respond well when your staff is going through a tough time. You don’t want to offend them or make their grieving process worse. You also need to think about what’s best for the company at that current time. Here is how to help your staff through the grieving process.

Do a gesture of goodwill for the staff member

As much as you are the boss at your company, you do want to show your staff member you care and show compassion when a death occurs. After all, you don’t want them to react angrily to your behaviour while they are going through the grieving process. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to give them a gesture of goodwill. For instance, you could send a card with your best wishes to the family. You could get the whole office to sign the card to show that you all wish them the best through this difficult time.

Make a gesture such as giving a group or personal donation to a charity that they have asked people to donate to. Or you could send flowers or even give a donation if they are getting something like Ashes Memorial Jewellery which you can contribute to. In some cases, it is appropriate to attend the funeral. By showing your goodwill, it will help your staff member to see you care about their well-being.

Do give them the time off as needed

It’s so important that you don’t rush your staff member back to work when they are taking the time off to grieve. The grieving process is a long and difficult process as you go through different emotions before finally accepting, they’re gone. So, if you make a staff member come back to work before they have reached the final stage of acceptance, you might find their behaviour difficult at work. They might be emotional and will struggle to concentrate when working. Therefore, as it says on Forbes, reassure them that they can take the time off to grieve and then look at ways you can reassign the work as you need to other employees.

While you should give them space, it’s always a good idea after a week or two to see how they are doing. You don’t want them to come back to work when they are not ready as it will have a negative impact on the workplace and other staff members. Make sure they feel like there is no rush and that you have sorted out the arrangements for them.

Ensure they aren’t overwhelmed with work

While your staff member is going through the grieving process, you need to be careful you don’t overload them with work. You don’t want to give them added stress on top of the pain they are experiencing. Not only will they become overwhelmed, but the work will be low quality while they are grieving. Therefore, make sure you assign them work which will keep them busy but won’t mean they are having to stay every night to complete it. Your business might be thriving and very busy, but it doesn’t mean you want to put a person who is going through a difficult time under added stress. Therefore, look at offering overtime opportunities to other members of staff or getting a temp in to help through this tough time.

Ask them how they want support

It’s so important that you take the grieving staff member’s wishes into consideration. After all, they might want some privacy to deal with the matter. They might have their own views and feelings on how they want the situation to be discussed with other staff. For instance, as discussed on, ask the staff member how they would like their situation announced to other staff members.

After all, they might want the death to stay confidential until they are ready to tell colleagues or might want you to tell the staff, so they don’t have to speak about it. It’s so important to find out how you can support them so that you can move forward. Remember to speak to them every week, it’s an ongoing conversation as they go through the grieving process.