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Coaching Employees Through a Loss

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Grief can be misunderstood in society. People can feel isolated and like they are alone in their feelings, says Fredda Wasserman, OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center special projects director.

OUR HOUSE views grief as an ongoing process rather than a "stage model" with a very logical progressions, she says. Wasserman says it is important for the leader to respect the staff and the individual needs of the employees.

 

Hold a mandatory meeting. 

The first step would be to notify the staff about a death. It is important to communicate this in the same way and to all employees to minimize the rumors that could potentially float around, Wasserman says.

A message to notify the staff should include "we" phrases and express the business' regret over the loss. Don't just offer extra support "if they need it," she says. No one wants to be the lone person to reach out about coping with the loss.

 

Assign tasks on an individual basis. 

Remain open to hearing how people are coping. Show a sensitivity to your employees or else they are likely to not be as efficient if a burst of grief occurs later down the line.

 

Offer additional support. 

Local churches, hospitals or community centers might offer grief counseling resources, Wasserman says. A leader can contact a social worker at a hospital to find out more about available resources. Organizations like OUR HOUSE can send someone to help walk the staff through the meeting and talk individually with employees.

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