Moving Forward After The Death of A Team Member

small business employee death

6  practices every small business owner needs to implement to properly prepare for when tragedy occurs.


In business, we pursue success with passion and vigor. We have a vision and we go after it.

And, to bring that vision to life, we surround ourselves with people that share our vision, our passion and our commitment. Over time, the people we bring along on that journey become a family. We spend lots of time together and share lots of experiences together.

We enjoy the good times and support one another through the bad times… but, whether you’re up or down, you and your team are in it together.

Sadly, in life we lose people. And, dealing with the death of a team member can affect us personally and professionally. I speak from personal experience because in our young and growing practice, we lost a key and beloved member of our team.

We were a close knit group, and her departure affected everyone on a personal level, but since we are a small team, it also impacted our team and business dynamics.

This tragedy highlighted the importance of the workplace providing support for employees as they work through processing the incident and managing the various stages of grief.

Situations like these affect the climate and productivity of a place of work, making it important for employers to be sensitive enough to take proactive steps to support grieving employees.

Dealing with Grief in the Workplace

Following six are some practices that every business owner can embrace and implement at the workplace to properly prepare for when tragedy occurs.

1.  Acknowledge the Tragedy

Sudden death, whether it is by natural causes or the result of violence, is difficult for everyone and acknowledging what happened is the first step in dealing with the tragedy.

Small business owners should be proactive and share as much information as is appropriate with employees. This helps to control the rumor mill and demonstrates to everyone that the employer cares enough to share information that concerns them.

As an example, providing information about the funeral arrangements and how employees can be involved in offering help and support to the family helps employees with planning.

2. Outside Counseling

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the death, having grief counselors come to the place of employment and meet with employees can help employees through the grieving process.

The advantage of bringing in a professional from outside the organization is that they offer objectivity and care for employees in a confidential manner.

3.  Allow Time for the Grieving Process

It is important for employers to allow employees to work through the five common stages of grief  – denial, anger, bargaining, sadness and acceptance.

Everyone processes things differently and employers that can identify these stages and support employees through them benefit all concerned.

Next- Small business practices 4 through 6


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