Supporting bereaved staff cope with the death of a colleague
RSSB has created guidance to help employers support their staff to cope with the death of a colleague.
The document translates bereavement research in a practical form and provides a starting point for internal communications content. The document also explains how the Covid-19 pandemic may negatively impact people’s ability to process grief and what companies can do to assist staff in this context.
The loss of a co-worker, although not always recognised, can be a highly significant and distressing event. When employees don’t feel the right to acknowledge that loss, either because it is not perceived as significant by others or by themselves, their ability to process grief can be impaired.
To facilitate a healthy bereavement process, it is important for companies to consider the way in which they communicate and manage the death of an employee. Although each person will manage grief in a different way, companies have an important role in acknowledging the loss suffered by employees after the death of a colleague. Normalising and validating employee’s feelings in communications is of extreme importance.
Educating employees on what can be expected from a bereavement process, including feelings they may experience, can decrease feelings of uncertainty. It is also important to clearly lay out the support available to employees. This includes ensuring line managers and others who support staff following a bereavement have the tools to appropriately respond to these difficult situations. In the guidance document you will find a procedural checklist and a list of recommendations for line managers, which you can use to review your internal processes and adapt to the needs of your company.