As we have seen the debilitating effects of the coronavirus on a lot of people in recent months, many people have lost their loved ones along the way. It is important for HR to support their employees in situations like this.
The pandemic has caused a massive increase in the number of people grieving the loss of a loved one, and often long after compassionate leave employees are still feeling the effects of grief on their day-to-day life, which can impact their work. One way in which HR can support their employees is by providing holistic support that goes above and beyond. Bereavement can lead to mental health concerns in employees, and HR staff should take this into consideration when dealing with them in the workplace. An adequate method would be adopting a transparent and concise bereavement policy to ensure all staff are fully equipped to deal with staff members who are going through it whilst working. Grief is unpredictable and employers should adopt a flexible approach where they are able to give employees ample time off if this is the way they deal with grief to ensure they are then able to work as efficiently as they can in the circumstances. Sometimes grief settles in again when a significant date comes around such as an anniversary or birthday. It is therefore important for HR to take this into consideration and be completely flexible in the way that they support employees dealing with grief. Allowing these days off or showing empathy to employees who choose to work on these days is an effective way of showing support.
Another key element of supporting bereaved employees is ensuring that staff, especially those in managerial roles are suitably trained. It should be common practice in the workplace that grief is spoken about and the policies are known across the board. This would make it easier for a bereaved employee to know their rights to time off amongst other matters when they are dealing with the loss of a loved one. If any nature of an employee’s work would create added stress or have a negative effect on their ability to work efficiently, it’s important that this is addressed, and managers follow their bereavement policy thoroughly. Generally speaking, managers should have a rapport with all their employees in such a way that if they are informed about a bereavement, they know the impact it could have on the given individual.
A holistic and rounded approach to supporting bereaved employees is fundamental to ensure they feel comfortable in work and are able to work as productively as possible in their circumstances. Bereaved employees should know their rights, but also feel comfortable approaching HR or managers to discuss a bereavement in their life.