INSTITUTE OF PROFESSIONAL GRIEF COACHING
From Grief to Gratitude Coaching Program
Grief is the Journey . . . Gratitude is the Destination
"I put on my big girl panties and returned to work after the death of my mother. Masking the pain of my broken heart and shattered world, they applauded me for my strength and bravery. I should have received an award for pretending to be okay. They had no idea of what was really going on inside … the fear, despair, confusion, hopelessness. The pain of trying to hold it together while at work made things even worse."
From Grief to Gratitude Workplace Grief Workshop
Our Promise to You . . .
You will have the awareness, knowledge, and skills to navigate through the adverse impact grief has on individual employees, coworkers, managers, teams, and the entire organization to ensure a compassionate and grief-informed workplace culture.
The unpredictable occasion of death will affect every workplace at some point, and no organization, regardless of size, is exempt from its impact. Employees spend the majority of their awake time with coworkers developing personal and professional relationships, and when a death occurs the sympathetic care and concern take on a personal nature with an emotional impact.
Although grief is a universal human experience, it is a challenging situation to cope with and oftentimes left to be resolved on its own. Grief can have significant consequences to an organization in areas of productivity, revenue, absenteeism, safety, turnover, and morale. It is difficult to quantify, but it is estimated that grief accounts for more than $75 billion in loss annually to American revenue, with over $37 billion attributed to death-related grief.
Many organizations do not have the information, training, and best practices to effectively respond when a death affects their workplace.
• Are you comfortable dealing with this sensitive and consuming distraction?
• Do you know how to respond to the resulting emotional, physical and productivity effects when grief visits your workplace?
• Are you familiar with the best and worst things to say to someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one?
• Does your workplace culture compassionately support the grieving employee and affected colleagues?
• Is your organization competent in recognizing, responding to, and reducing the negative impact grief can have in the workplace?
The physical, emotional, cognitive, social, and spiritual impacts of one’s grief experience will be unique to each individual; therefore, there is no linear, cookie-cutter, or one-size-fits-all approach to helping one navigate this wilderness of grief. Nor is it expected that a death allow the organization to ignore, cease, or delay business activities, sales, services, or customer expectations. The goal is to find the balance and flow between being compassionately supportive and minimizing the workplace disruption when a death has occurred. How you respond to an employee’s loss will have long-term implications among your workforce.
You do not have to be an expert on grief to make a positive difference in your organization. The Workplace Grief Workshop coaches executive, management, and human resources staff to better understand grief, the grieving process, negative effects of grief, best practices, and effective communication strategies to create a compassionate, supportive, professional, and productive grief-friendly work environment.
Why the Need to Address Grief in the Workplace . . .
• Employee grief is usually unsupported and misunderstood. Our understanding of the topic is limited. Knowing something about grief itself and the grieving process can be helpful in implementing practical and reasonable ways to support workplace grief.
• Grief not only affects the grieving employee but has a far-reaching impact on the organization. Workplaces provide a sense of community as most waking hours are spent with coworkers, oftentimes being referred to as extended family.
• Limited bereavement leave is afforded to employees. The more common three to five days afforded for the loss of an immediate family member isn’t sufficient to counter the effects of loss that occur weeks, or even months, following the loss. Relying on the “you should be over it” myth, it is expected that the employee return to work as a fully functioning staff member.
• Professional counseling, therapy, and mental health services such as those offered by an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) are usually provided for the grieving individual and offered during non-working hours. The impact of the grief-related emotions transcends beyond the grieving employee.
• Loss of grief-related business revenue has a tremendous effect on a company’s production, sales, or services. According to a 2002 Wall Street Journal article, the hidden annual cost of grief in the workplace related to grief after a loved one’s death is estimated at $37.4 billion. It is obvious that this number has increased significantly since that time.
• A compassionate workplace culture can maintain an engaged workforce and boost employee morale, loyalty, productivity, and employee retention.
“I have long believed that people need to feel supported and understood at work. I now know that this is even more important after tragedy. And sadly, it‘s far less common than it should be. After the death of a loved one, only 60 percent of private sector workers get paid time off—and usually just a few days. When they return to work, grief can interfere with their job performance.”
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO
"It’s really time for businesses to invest in the emotional needs of their employees. Too many times and in my former field and studies while getting my Master's in Corporate Communications, it’s all about the bottom line and profit and not enough in tending to the emotional needs of their employees. When I worked as a Manager and I lost my dad, I received no communication, no card, no collection, no words of sympathy...nothing! I was broken having lost my Dad, but the place I poured my entire self into didn't care enough for me to show me any sympathy and support. Right there, that showed me how valued I was as a team player and their top money maker in developing their programs. I poured my soul in that job and this was their opportunity to show support to me, but nothing and that broke my moral of that organization and I became bitter and angry because I saw their true colors. Too many times, the employees don't feel supported and treated like a work horse. Too many times, they take, but the investment in the emotional needs and emotional intelligence is severely missing."
Certified Grief Coach
“I was shocked to learn that HR and upper management are not thoroughly trained in grief. I now understand (from personal experience) why many companies are insensitive and not empathetic to the bereaved. When my son passed away, my former employer gave me one month off from work.”
“An action plan can also help the team to know the needs the person has; may it be spiritually or cultural values they hold. A knowledgeable office is a respectful office. Making the office as comfortable for the individual as possible to transition. Train in grief/loss/disaster of all kinds. Everyone and every employer should have this invaluable life skill ready when tragedy hits. Although nobody is ever really prepared and that all death is sudden and tragic, having this training and skill can ease the burden and help move from grief to gratitude, from heartache to peace, from sadness to joy and transitioning an employee from home to the work-place with compassion, empathy, kindness and respect.”
What Workplace Grief Resources Might Currently be Available . . .
• Inhouse employee bereavement policies and protocol to follow upon notification of a death, i.e., HR/management reporting, communication with grieving employee, company sympathy acknowledgement, workflow reassignment, etc.
• Employee benefit programs that include bereavement leave for immediate family members (usually three to five days for employee to handle affairs following the death), life insurance, leave-sharing programs, emergency financial assistance, etc.
• Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Outsourced support and resources for employee to receive confidential professional counseling, therapy, and/or mental health services.
What Might be Missing in Your Organization . . .
We’ve been instructed to leave our personal life, issues, and challenges at the doorstep when we enter our places of employment. Unfortunately, the inseparable emotions and responses to loss cling to one regardless of what appears on the outside. The physical, emotional, and psychological effects cross the workplace threshold without our permission and take residence in the daily operation and workflow processes.
It is not our fault that we often use denial and avoidance to address the reality of grief in the workplace. The problem is that we haven’t been educated on this subject because our society still silently responds to it as the elephant in the room. It’s the topic that no one wants to talk about, but everyone needs to hear.
Just as acknowledging workplace birthdays, engagements, marriages, births, etc., we must acknowledge that grief is a normal and natural workplace event that will affect each employee at some point. Creating a grief-friendly workplace culture is beneficial to the whole organization.
How We Can Help . . .
Offering the 90-minute inhouse Workplace Grief Workshop for your executive, management, and human resources staff arms them with a non-therapeutic coaching methodology to help:
• Understand grief, the grieving process, and the emotions resulting from the loss of a loved one.
• Raise awareness around the myths, stigmas, and judgmental perceptions surrounding grief.
• Learn best and worst things to say to someone who is grieving.
• Compassionately respond to and support grieving employees.
• Offer sympathetic care and concern for all supervisors, peers, and subordinates who are closely associated with the bereaved employee.
• Understand the cultural diversity in grief-related rituals.
• Reduce or prevent the effects of grief-related productivity and loss revenue.
• Demonstrate a proactive commitment and appreciation to the well-being and goodwill of your workforce and organization.
Our authorized Workplace Grief Coaches have been certified by the Institute of Professional Grief Coaching. They come to your location so there is no need for travel or extended time away from the office. The workshop can easily be scheduled to augment staff meetings, sales meetings, lunch-and-learns, and the like. All authorized trainers are listed on this website.
A Message from Our Founder . . .
“During my years of working in the cemetery, I experienced the loss of coworkers, family members of coworkers, pets of coworkers, and personal family members and friends. Even as death care professionals, we were never prepared, instructed, offered grief support, or educated on what to do, how to respond, or how to help each other cope with these workplace-related losses. We were allowed time to cry it out amongst ourselves, but immediately returned to our offices to handle the business of serving the grieving families that walked through the front door. How do you work as a death care professional but have no knowledge of how to handle a death that affects your very own workplace? If not addressed, the painful emotions of loss such as disbelief, sadness, anger, vulnerability, isolation, denial, guilt, and regret can lead to unresolved grief, which ultimately has a negative impact on individuals, families, workplaces, schools, and communities. Our grief-avoidance society must do more to address this unavoidable sensitive event.” – Dora Carpenter, Founder, Institute of Professional Grief Coaching.
The Institute of Professional Grief Coaching LLC, Workplace Grief Workshop, its coaches, facilitators, trainers, and its staff do not imply, infer, or attempt to fix, heal, or cure grief, and do not offer or provide professional counseling, therapy or mental health services.