HR Executive managing editor Kris Frasch tells the story of losing her husband in hopes it might shed light on what HR and managers can do when one of their own suffers significant loss and struggles to work through it.
In business, there’s a sense that we need to “tough it out “ when it comes to grief, says Andy Grant, clinical manager at Chicago-based EAP provider ComPsych. It’s not employers’ “modus operandi to evaluate what they do for their people who are going through a grieving process.”
He agrees having some educational material for the management team about grief and loss -- including pointers about expected decreases in creativity, productivity and concentration -- would go a long way toward helping the bereaved and those around them. Training can even include what to say and what not to say to the employee when he or she returns, something “not everyone is good at or comfortable with, “ says Grant.
Remember, he adds, a bereavement leave or slow-to-recover returning employee “can develop into a case of disability if that person starts suffering real depression. “So it behooves HR to provide information for managers educating them on the law as it applies to depression and disability, and all the benefits the company has to offer. In some cases, there can be “a whole slew of services, “ Grant says, such as estate planning, will consultations and funeral and financial planning. Some of his customers, he adds, use all these ComPsych services.
The more managers can communicate support and supportive services, he says, “the more they can work against it developing into depression, the better that employee will feel about his or her company, “ and, eventually, the more productive he or she will become.
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