A wise person once said to me, that you can only control what you can control. This statement resonates with me, and it should resonate with everyone because it’s pretty much a fact. The sad truth is that things will happen in life that are out of your control. The only thing you can control is how you react and manage it. One of the most difficult things HR professionals (and managers in general) face in the office, is figuring out how to approach tragedies the right way. As we all know, even during the toughest tragedies, work is work, and somehow we need to keep things going.
First thing is first. As an employer, you need to show empathy to whoever has been affected by a loss of loved one, or some other tragedy of that magnitude. You know that feeling when someone close to you loses a loved one. You aren’t really sure what to say, or whether or not you should say anything at all. Try not to over think this. The most important thing as the employer is to first acknowledge the tragedy.
Secondly, make sure the person knows you are there for them and ask them what they need. This is extremely important, because not everyone is the same. Not everyone will have the same grieving process, so it’s crucial for the employer to speak directly with who is affected by the tragedy and find out what they need. Some will want to be left alone. Some will want to talk about it. They may need you to point them in the direction of some counseling services. The only way you will know is to ask, and here at Vibecatch, we believe in asking questions. Helpful language you can use:
- “Are you okay?”
- “What can I do to help you during this time?”
- “What do you need from us to help you during this time?
Third, depending on how the conversation goes, you might need to hold a very brief all staff meeting. It might be necessary to share the recent events with your team, and inform them so that they can be aware and acknowledge it, and possibly offer their own condolences. Remember, keep in might the requests of the individuals involved, and how much information they would be willing to share.
Now, all this is helpful for personal tragedies that affect individual team members, but what about something more along the lines of a city-wide tragedy, or even national? How do you handle something that might not affect any one person directly, but effects your entire team indirectly, and probably emotionally?
Want to chat with us, or learn more about our Quality of Work Life index? Reach out to us and we would be happy to walk you through our product and what it could do for your organisation.