Helping Employees During Times of Grief


The recent announcement about Sheryl Sandberg being unable to join us in Las Vegas at SHRM’s Annual Conference is no doubt disappointing to a lot of people – myself included. But at the same time who can fault her for wanting to and needing to be with her family during this difficult time.

I have been reading a lot about the sudden passing of her husband, Dave Goldberg and it got me thinking about a lot of things. First the outpouring of condolences, thoughts and prayers from so many people that Sheryl and Dave both knew and did not know were wonderful to see.

Secondly the number of people who shared their heart wrenching stories of loss made me realize how many people are touched by tragedy. These led me to think about how workplaces address bereavement and loss. We all know that the standard amount of bereavement leave is 3 -5 days but let’s be honest – who is ready to come back to work that quickly after suffering the devastating loss of a spouse, significant other or child?

One can say that it is nice to get back to a routine but at the same time how much are you really focused on work and is your heart really in it? It is times like this that I like to think that the compassion and understanding that are the trademarks of HR would drive how organizations help their employees manage during times of unspeakable grief.  

I would love to hear your perspective on this incredibly important topic. 



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