Helping Staff Cope With the Death of a Colleague
It's important to balance workplace duties and grieving.
The recent deaths of NBA star Kobe Byrant and eight others in a helicopter crash is a reminder that death can occur unexpectedly. For associations thinking about how they’d deal with the loss of a staff member, Laura Viehmyer, SPHR, CEBS, an HR expert and principal consultant at PRM Consulting Group, said there are some important steps to take.
Step one is notifying colleagues. “In all cases, you’re going to communicate with the workforces that you lost a member of the employee family,” Viehmyer said. “What you say beyond that is going to depend on the circumstances.”
Due to privacy laws, organizations cannot say much else about the death. Employees can die by suicide, murder or other causes family members do not want publicized; thus, it’s important to get the family’s permission to provide a cause of death.
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