HR Tip of the Week: What to say to a grieving employee!
Often, when a co-worker returns to work after the death of a loved one, we don’t know what to say—so we don’t say anything. But staying silent can make the grieving co-worker feel isolated. Here are four ways to show your colleague you care, according to David Kessler, founder of Grief.com, and Adam Grant, co-author of Option B:
“I’m glad you are back, and we’re here for you.” “We can’t change what happened, but if there is anything we can do to make your life easier, know that we are all here for you.”
•Acknowledge that grief is ongoing.
“How are you today?” is better than “How are you?” Grant says, because it allows people to answer honestly beyond just responding, “I’m fine.”
•Show up with a specific offer. But make it clear that it’s OK if the person wants to decline.
“I’m in the lobby if you want to talk. I will be here for the next hour whether you come down or not.”
•Take your cues from the griever.
“I’d love to hear more about your loved one whenever that might be convenient for you. I want to respect your privacy.”