When a colleague dies 

Coping with bereavement in the workplace, when a colleague dies

In some situations a death can have an impact on a number of employees or across the whole workforce. Examples are where a co-worker has died, where the death occurred at or near the place of work, or if a number of the deceased’s family or friends are employed at the same place.

Communicating the news of the death to other employees is key and the method of communication should be personal and sensitive. There may be areas of the organisation, for example the team where the person who died worked, that are particularly affected and that may need more support.

The employer should contact the family to offer condolences, and agree a point of contact for any questions they may have – for example, about pay, or pension arrangements.

Practical points like books of condolence, making a donation or sending flowers and attendance at the funeral should be considered by managers and clearly communicated to the wider workforce. There may also be appropriate ways of commemorating the person who has died and of marking key dates; the family should be consulted about these.

Rosedale Training offers a bespoke training course for businesses aimed at line managers, HR teams and other selected staff.