How to Deal with an Employee Death in the Company

People who work together at a company often know each other for years and have socialized together on a number of occasions. They often become like family, and when a death occurs, it can have a profound impact on the entire working environment. Business owners and individuals involved in human resource matters must provide the right leadership for these occasions to ensure that the deceased worker and his or her family is properly acknowledged and that an appropriate grieving period occurs. Here are a few tips that can facilitate this process to reinforce the cohesiveness of the work group.

Provide Sensitive Notifications

The company owners may learn of the death of a worker through family or close friends that work with him or her. It’s important to immediately notify all those who worked closely with the deceased, even contacting those who are on leave or vacation. A memorandum or written announcement can be made to all other employees. In the announcement, give whatever details you have on the death and promise to provide further information, as it is known. If the death was a result of a questionable accident or injury, mention that personal injury lawyers are tending to the case.

Provide Details on Funeral Arrangements

The family of the deceased can provide information on the location and time of the funeral, which you can then relay to others in the company. It’s customary to provide flowers in the name of the company, if it is appropriate for the funeral ritual. Allow all employees to take off time to attend the funeral. If necessary, hire a temp to answer the phone while everyone is at the service. Attending the funeral is an important way to honor the lost co-worker and move through the grief process.

Honor the Deceased’s Contributions

A bulletin board can be created as a memorial to allow staff to post pictures, mementos and other items that celebrate the life and contributions of the deceased co-worker. Many companies collect money for a donation to the deceased’s favorite charity.

Managing the Practical Details of Loss

The family should be notified to remove the deceased’s possessions from the workplace, after a suitable period of time. Other details, such as changing voice mail, retrieving email messages and notifying clients the deceased handled should be assigned on a rotating basis to reduce the emotional strain on other workers.

Prepare Staff for the Deceased’s Replacement

The transition to accepting a new individual in the lost worker’s place can be a difficult one, particularly if the deceased was well liked. Notify co-workers about the replacement and give some details about their background. Inform the replacement of the situation of their employment, so they can be sensitive about taking the deceased place at work.

Because individuals spend a great many hours in their workplace, the relationships formed there have special meaning. The business owners must be prepared to honor these relationships with appropriate actions that acknowledge the loss to the company and the person’s friends and co-workers. These tips can help you to establish the right tone in providing a process for grieving.

This guest post is courtesy of Dixie Somers.


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