Winnipeg Free Press - Section H - - CAREERS -

Re­spect em­ployee pri­vacy — While you may of­fer group dis­cus­sion ses­sions to deal with em­ployee grief, there are many em­ploy­ees who pre­fer to grieve in pri­vate. There­fore, re­spect that there may be a few closed doors and sub­dued com­mu­ni­ca­tion. On the other hand, some em­ploy­ees might re­turn to their desk and work their heart out; leave them alone to grieve in their own way.

Show re­spect for the fam­ily — Be in con­tact with the fam­ily im­me­di­ately. Send a note and/or flow­ers as is ap­pro­pri­ate. Work with them to de­ter­mine how they would like the em­ployer to be in­volved in cer­e­monies and cel­e­bra­tions. Pro­vide sup­port and help make con­nec­tions. Send rep­re­sen­ta­tives to at­tend ser­vices. As­sist with any clar­i­fi­ca­tions of com­pany ben­e­fits and en­ti­tle­ments. Of­fer to for­ward per­sonal be­long­ings rather than leav­ing this task to the fam­ily.

Hon­our the in­di­vid­ual dur­ing the work­week — De­sign an ap­pro­pri­ate me­mo­rial ac­tiv­ity. One ex­am­ple is to keep the in­di­vid­ual’s of­fice door shut for one week, tape a large sheet of white pa­per on it and in­vite col­leagues to write their thoughts. Paste pho­tos of past cel­e­bra­tions and/or add a me­mento of some sort. Help the em­ploy­ees to share their grief. Cel­e­brate the in­di­vid­ual’s con­tri­bu­tions.

Cre­ate a fam­ily me­mo­rial gift book — There are many ac­tiv­i­ties at work to which fam­i­lies have not been privy. Take some of your best pho­tos and/or other mem­o­ries from work and cre­ate a fam­ily me­mo­rial book. Give the book as a gift to the fam­ily. While they may not re­view it upon re­ceipt, they will very much ap­pre­ci­ate it at a later date.

Raise money for a cause — Look for a sim­ple way to raise money in your col­league’s name. Ded­i­cate the money raised to the col­league’s favourite char­ity or to the char­ity that the or­ga­ni­za­tion has sup­ported over time. Start a schol­ar­ship, a fund or ded­i­cate an event in the col­league’s name. Be sure to in­volve the fam­ily.

Put fu­ture com­mu­ni­ca­tions in place — Some fam­i­lies wish to keep in touch with the former em­ployee’s work­place. For in­stance, they want to see the re­sults of their loved one’s project com­ing to fruition or they may want to be in­cluded on the com­pany news­let­ter list. On the other hand, many fam­i­lies are not able to han­dle this type of re­la­tion­ship. In­quire and make ar­range­ments to meet your fam­ily’s need.

Man­ag­ing a death in the work­place is awk­ward for ev­ery­one. De­velop a plan and ap­ply sen­si­tiv­ity and good judg­ment.

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