Situation: A long-standing employee committed suicide away from work. Relatives of this person work in the company. How can the CEO assure that assistance is available to help employees resolve their emotional shock?
Advice from the CEOs:
- First, do not assume that this is a passing situation and that all will recover without assistance. One never knows what may have passed between employees in the days or hours prior to the event or what lingering feelings of guilt or involvement may remain and impact future performance or development.
- Initiate personal contact with those employees closest to the individual to console them.
- Search for local resources on death and dying that provide trained counselors to work with employees. The service is generally free of charge, but a donation is appropriate.
- Be proactive – create a remembrance fund to allow employees to contribute as they wish. This can assist them in their personal bereavement process.
- Establish a company bereavement policy – for example 3 days time off with pay with guidelines as to situations that trigger this benefit – so that they can deal with their loss.
- One company has an Employee Assistance Program. They pay about $5000/year to access services for employees. This has been a very good program for the company.
- There will inevitably be future situations that arise through accident, illness or other causes that will directly impact employees. It is best to be prepared with a plan in case any of these occur.
Key Words: Performance, Bereavement, Policy, Planning