Grieving Employee? Here’s You Can Help

Consoling an employee or fellow co-worker during a time of grief can be extremely difficult. You may be asking yourself questions like: “What is appropriate discussion for the workplace? What can I do to help them heal?”. Navigating these hard situations and questions can be confusing and frustrating. Below we’ll discuss some ways you can address their grief and create positive action in your workplace.

Understanding The Stages Of Grief

Grieving is a journey with several different steps and cycles. The process of mourning is often painful, isolating, and frightening. It’s important to know that your co-worker or employee may not be able to perform even the simplest of job tasks during this time period. Familiarize yourself with the 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) and learn to recognize what stage they are currently in. This will help you assess the situation and understand their behavioral patterns throughout each stage.

Start The Conversation

Reaching out during this difficult, necessary process shows that you care for the person grieving and shows that you have empathy for their situation. Saying “I’m sorry” or “I’m thinking about you” is a simple, yet effective way to start the conversation. While they may not be up for talking about it right away, it’s comforting for them to know that you understand what they are going through and you are there for them.

Don’t Pass Judgment

Each griever’s journey is different and each individual witll have a different reaction to each stage. Some may need to isolate right away, while others could possibly find work therapeutic and not need any days off. Avoid judgment during this time and understand that there is no step-by-step manual on how to cope with death.

As a result of any death, your coworker’s life will be going through a period of reconstruction. Keep in mind that grief is unique. No two people respond to death in exactly the same say. Be patient. Don’t force a specific timetable for healing. Be gentle, sensitive, and compassionate in all of your helping efforts.

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