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By African Unity Life

Wed, 25 Nov 2020
African Unity Life

Dealing with the loss of a loved one requires time, patience and support. As a business leader, this may be one of your most challenging tasks. Not only does it affect the employee, but it can affect productivity and work morale. And, because every employee is different, there is no set in stone approach; you need to find a way to offer support to the individual employee based on their unique situation. We have a three-step guideline of what your organisation can do to not only support the employee during this time but also minimise the impact it has on your business or productivity. 

To find out more, read our article below. 

Communicate openly 

Ensure you always have an open-door policy and your staff feel at ease to come to you about their issues. Having an open-door policy will allow transparent communication, and help give you an idea of what the individual is going through and how they deal with grief. 

For instance, one employee might want to come back to work as soon as possible since it might serve as a distraction. On the other hand, another employee might like to take time off to go through the grieving process in the comfort of their home and among their loved ones. Never assume that two individuals will grieve the same way. 

By being able to communicate, you’ll also be able to create a succession plan to help keep the business going while an employee is away. When communicating with a grieving employee, make sure you:

  • Talk to the employee so that you can understand the dynamics of the relationship. 
  • Acknowledge their pain. 
  • Offer your condolences. 
  • Find out how you can help them during this time. 
  • Find out if they are comfortable with you sharing the news with colleagues and to what degree. Some employees may want to keep it to themselves or between their immediate team. 

Communicating with them can help find a way forward and ensure they do not feel alone during this time. 

Offer financial support 

Depending on their religion, culture, and family dynamics, funeral cost can vary, which is why funeral cover has become a necessity. While some may have an intimate ceremony, others may need to go out of town for the funeral. When an employee loses a family member, there may be a lot going on in their household, making it an extremely mentally taxing time. To offer your support, create a benefits package that can help in those times. You can get a funeral group scheme like ours for your employees. 

Funeral cover from an employer can help the employee cover the funeral expense, especially if they are the breadwinner in the family. Or it can come in handy as a cushion to take the financial burden off and cover additional expenses. Having benefits that will be helpful during times of uncertainty will also show that you care and value them as an employee. 

During this time, an employee needs to see how their employers manage grieving employees. This can also have a domino effect and help you retain valuable talent as they see that they’re more than employees in your organisation. Our funeral cover can include principal members, spouses, children and extended family. The cover will start on the first month after payment has been received and will payout to the family within 24 to 48 hours after the passing. This will ensure your employee and their family can plan a dignified send-off for their loved one. 

Be patient with your employee 

There is no time frame when it comes to grief, and depending on the circumstances, it can impact one’s mental health. After a loss, your employee should only be concerned about their healing process and not feel pressured to return to work. 

Grief and productivity in the workplace don’t go hand in hand, and as a business leader, you need to consider that. Acknowledge that they may need additional time off after the funeral or need help with the workload. Rushing for the worker to return to work won’t help your bottom line. So, reiterate to them that you care for their wellbeing, encourage them to take additional leave and to communicate what they will need when transitioning back to normalcy. Other ways you can help them is by allowing them to work from home or finding a willing colleague who can help with the workload. 

Final thoughts 

When an employee deals with grief, it will take some time for things to go back to normal. And, while it can be difficult to navigate how you can support each individual, it simply needs to be done. How your business offers support to employees during challenging times is what will set you apart from other businesses. 

Employees want to feel valued and appreciated in their jobs, especially at a time when they may be feeling alone, anxious and grief-ridden. While each employee is different, communicating, being patient and offering financial support is a great place to start. 

For more information on our funeral cover or additional information on our group schemes, contact African Unity Life Ltd, a licensed life insurer and an authorised Financial Services Provider (FSP NO. 8447) today. We are always eager to offer our assistance and services.