Bereavement can have a huge impact on an employee’s productivity and performance. Expecting them to cope alone is the wrong thing for them, and your business.
An experienced HR consultant told me, during a recent chat, that employers should not expect Employee Assistance Programmes to do this job for them.
He recognised that the 'cost' of my services saves firms money in the long term. This is because the employees I support are likely to return to work sooner, with better productivity and performance than those left without help.
That’s refreshing to hear. I saw a recent survey response that said employees should ‘do it themselves’ when it came to managing personal loss and they ‘would not offer anything within the firm'.
To that, my HR consultant contact said: 'They're obviously very young and inexperienced not to see the value of supporting an employee through personal grief.'
We talked about an example of a law firm employee who I've supported through personal grief recently.
She's a business service employee, who provides essential administrative support to the firm’s partners and lawyers. She is a long-standing, experienced and valuable employee.
Sadly, her husband died suddenly in August.
I met her in early September and she was in quite a bad way. I helped her with support sessions twice a week. These were carried out:
- in person, at her home
- by telephone, at a time that suited her
Working with her and her HR colleagues, I devised and implemented a phased return to work.
- in October, she was ready to take a brave step and start her return to work. She went in for a couple of half days each week, to gradually get used to being in the office with colleagues
- in November, she was back 4 days a week. She was working short days; arriving slightly later and leaving slightly earlier to avoid the stress of travelling in peak rush hours
- in December, she was back to work full time
My sessions with her are now once a week and will gradually reduce. But I will continue to be available to her, especially at anniversaries and special days.
She calls me her ‘bereavement counsellor’. And because she trusts me - I promise total confidentiality and I’m not a family member - she’s also revealed some other problem areas that we have been able to work through.
My consultant friend and I agreed that personal loss and bereavement management:
- leads to a faster return
- can help prevent long term sickness depression/anxiety
- can reduce bouts of time off later down the line
It’s always good when an off-the-cuff conversation confirms your work is needed!
Who we can help
Confidence to Return offers one-to-one support for employees coping with personal bereavements, such as the loss of a partner, parent, child, baby through stillbirth or miscarriage.
How we help
We guide your employees through the initial stages through to their return to work. We can help manage the many aspects of grief, and eventually, help them move forward towards acceptance.
Examples of content include:
- exploring and processing emotions
- developing coping strategies
- returning to work
- moving forward to acceptance
- long-term grief management
How it helps the employer
Long-term business benefits of Personal Loss and Bereavement Management:
- builds employee commitment
- reduces sickness absence
- retains valuable and experienced employees
- builds a supportive community in the workplace
- enhances your reputation as an employer of choice
Returning to work is our business. Get in touch to find out how we can help you support your employees.