How to Support an Employee Through Grief

an employee staring out a window

As a business leader, you will be responsible for motivating and managing your employees.

One of the biggest changes you might encounter is figuring out how to support an employee through grief.

Grief support is a delicate art that might sink or make your relationship with your employee.

It might appear easier to avoid any awkward interaction with a grieving employee.

However, a grieving employee likely needs all the support they can receive.

Communicating your support to your employee is a great way to support an employee through grief.

Bereavement leave is the professional standard for people dealing with loss.

It would be important to approve your employee's request for bereavement leave or even offer bereavement leave.

Giving your employee an extended break is an excellent way to support an employee through grief.

Comforting a grieving employee is a delicate task for any leader.

Being emotionally supportive as a leader will make it easier to console your employee.

High emotional intelligence is vital to achieving this delicate task.

Find out how to support an employee through grief

Grief & Loss Therapists in Colorado

Melody Reynalds, LPC

Melody Reynalds, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Sherry Rice, LPCC, ADDC

Sherry Rice, LPCC, ADDC

(719) 452-4374
Deja Howard, MSW, SWC

Deja Howard, MSW, SWC

(719) 345-2424
Amber Chambless, LPC

Amber Chambless, LPC

(720) 449-4121
Jacquelynne Sils, LPC

Jacquelynne Sils, LPC

(719) 696-3439
Kimberly Nefflen, LPCC

Kimberly Nefflen, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Laura Hunt, LPC

Laura Hunt, LPC

(719) 452-4374
Seth Boughton, SWC

Seth Boughton, SWC

(720) 449-4121
Sarah Munk, LPC

Sarah Munk, LPC

(719) 345-2424
Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374


Many cite great communication skills among the hallmark traits of a good leader.

Consider an employee grieving as an essential circumstance to demonstrate good communication skills.

This is one of the first things to consider when you want to support an employee through grief.

It is important for you to acknowledge that you might not have known the deceased party.

Try to avoid commenting on the deceased party but concentrate on your bereaved employee.

Also try to communicate that you are reaching out to your employees because you care about them.

The important thing is to pass across that you care about your employee personally.

This demonstrates that you understand that the news will affect the bereaved personally.

This might help allay the fears of your employee.

Since the subject of loss is personal, you could consider sending your condolences and support in person or through a call.

You can also communicate the entitlements that your employee has.

Bereavement Leave

An effective way to support an employee through grief is to grant your employee an extended period of break.

This period is referred to as a bereavement leave.

Consider creating the option of bereavement leave for your employees if your business doesn't provide bereavement leave.

A grieving employee might be too distracted to fulfil their official duty and obligations effectively.

In addition, bereavement leave will give your employee time to take care of their personal business.

This could include travelling to another location, making funeral arrangements and even handling estate issues.

Bereavement leave is a standard benefit for most companies.

However, the length of the bereavement leave can depend on the size of the organisation and other factors but the average is between three to five days.

Bereavement leave usually applies to immediate family members, like children, spouses, parents, siblings, grandparents.

Consider including the bereavement policy in the employee handbook.

The essence of the bereavement is to help your employee through a difficult time in a reasonable way.

Thus, it is important to consider any exceptional circumstance that your employment might present to you for bereavement leave.

Being Patient

Grief can be a truly difficult moment in the life of a person.

It would be unsurprising to see some employees recover slower than others to grief.

It is important to be conscious that the impact of grief might extend past a few days.

One of the ways to support an employee through grief is to be patient.

Try to manage your expectations with your expectations from your grieving employee.

It is unlikely that your employee will be able to maintain their current productivity rate after suffering a loss.

For instance, when your employee returns to the office, you can be accommodating to their needs.

You can also expect the employee to make certain types of mistakes such as grammatical errors, typos and similar mistakes.

In a high stake industry, you might want to consider keeping the employee from the most pressing work.

Slowly, you can ease the employee back into the business.

Consider having a conversation with your employee about their performance if the low performance remains after a while.

You can offer more time off to the employee or any method you think can address the issue.

The employee will likely be a valuable asset to your business if they manage to recover.

Stefanie Kerr, LPCC

"There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn't." - John Green

Colorado Springs, Colorado
View details
Jacquelynne Sils, LPC

The hardest step is starting counseling.

Seth Boughton, SWC

There is always light. If only we are brave enough to see it. If only we are brave enough to be it.

Arias Gonzales, MS, LPC, NCC, EMDR-Trained

“A cosmic perspective always attenuates tragedy. If we climb high enough, we will reach a height from which tragedy ceases to look tragic.” ― Irvin D. Yalom, When Nietzsche Wept

Emotional Support

Emotional intelligence is another skill that sets apart a good leader.

When an employee is mourning the loss of another, it is important to offer emotional support to the employee.

This can make all the difference to an employee.

A good example would be to have an employee return to work shortly after losing someone dear to them.

An emotionally intelligent boss might be able to spot the employee is still struggling.

The right step in this case might be to insist the employee take bereavement leave.

The most important part of emotional support is the personal touch.

It is about being able to handle each employee personally, perhaps reducing the workload of an employee or other such decisions.

Being able to offer support by checking up with your employee whilst respecting the privacy of the employee.

Emotional support might even include coordinating with your team to make things easier for the employee.

During grief, all aspects, including the work aspect of the bereaved life is affected.

Emotional care is an important way to support an employee through grief.

Financial Assistance

Although it is hardly ever discussed, funeral arrangements are quite expensive.

One way to support an employee through grief is to provide financial support.

For many employees, paid leave is a luxury that will work as financial assistance.

Financial assistance is not necessarily free money.

The act of not losing time or losing money from handling a funeral can be a game changer in the lives of employees.

It is worth considering paid leave for your employee.

Although large companies might be able to afford generous periods of paid leave, it is understandable that smaller firms might struggle to match the period.

Your employee will likely appreciate the opportunity to gain paid leave.

Some companies also allow donations for the grieving employee.

Any financial support will likely make a big difference for your employee.

This can also foster strong work relations for the business.

Although financial support can be difficult, if it is affordable consider granting your employee support.


A grieving person usually needs support from all social structures.

Your employee will likely look up to you for grief support at some point dealing with a loss.

A good leader can rely on communicating, bereavement leave, patience, emotional support and financial assistance to support an employee through grief.


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July 14th, 2024

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