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Three Ways to Support a Grieving Employee this Holiday Season

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, this timely article from our friends at Workplace Healing offers three specific ways leaders can offer support to a grieving employee: Check in. Listen. Take thoughtful action (image courtesy of ShutterStock).

For a grieving employee, the revelry of the holidays can amplify a sense of loneliness and isolation. Not only is your employee missing their loved one, but they might also be trying to adjust to a changing family dynamic when it comes to holiday traditions. As a leader, watch for signs that your employee may be struggling to get through the holiday season. Signs include a sudden drop in productivity, a sense of disengagement, unusual forgetfulness or distraction, working more than usual, or frequent sick days. What can you do to help?

Check in: Pull your employee aside and acknowledge that you recognize that this holiday season might be difficult. Ask them if there’s anything that you can do to help. Do they need to take a day off? Can another team member temporarily take over some tasks?

Listen: Grievers find comfort in sharing stories about their loved one. When we take time to listen, we’re actively supporting this person in their recovery and helping them feel less alone. Don’t try to “fix” their pain by saying things like “it will be okay” or by telling them how they should feel. Simply being with someone in their pain is supportive.

Take thoughtful action: The holidays are a nostalgic time for many. Understand that piping holiday music through the office can be especially distressing for a grieving employee. Leave a card on your employee’s desk to let them know you’re thinking about them or have flowers delivered from the team to your employee’s home. You might write, “We are thinking about you during this holiday season.”

Want more ideas about initiating head and heart-based practices to support and reengage a grieving employee? Contact Workplace Healing to request a demo of the Human Recovery Plan™ Software Platform.


Workplace Healing is the innovator of the Human Recovery Plan™ Software Platform, which provides corporate leaders, managers and care teams with the empathetic muscle necessary to support grieving employees. The Human Recovery Plan™ Software Platform is an easy-to-use, 24-7 solution that helps leaders and managers build a head and heart-based plan that thoughtfully acknowledges an employee’s life disruption and boosts long-term employee engagement, morale and productivity.

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