Updated: Jul 27
Employee dies, or team members face layoffs – How do you safeguard their well-being?💔
In this groundbreaking series, discover three proven ways to uplift your team: Clear Communication, Unwavering Employee Support, and now, the Powerful Art of Memorializing!🌹
How do you take care of your team's well-being?
Today, we’re talking about memorializing even those who have been laid off!
This is the one that makes most leaders squirm!
To start a new chapter with your team
Show your team that you will honor them when they leave (or die).
Both of these can have a significant positive impact on your team's engagement!
There are so many ways you can memorialize an employee. One organization I worked with named a meeting room after an employee who had been with the company for 17 years since its inception died in a car accident. You don't have to go that far, but honoring your employee will help your team.
When faced with challenging situations such as the death of an employee or significant layoffs, fostering a supportive environment becomes crucial.
Remember, the goal here is to focus on your employee's well-being!
a) An Obvious Solution:
Work Together in the Face of Adversity (I now see this is not really an obvious one!)
Fostering a sense of community can help your team's well-being. One great and simple way to do that is to work together - in the same room or together over Zoom.
Instead of sending your team off to process their emotions on their own, consider suggesting a few hours of group work. The time spent together allows your team to share their thoughts and support one another. Working together, even independently, in the same space creates a unique bond that strengthens the team's connection and builds trust during a difficult transition. By acknowledging the collective experience and offering a space for open discussion, leaders can help maintain employee engagement and productivity.
b) A Not-So-Obvious Solution:
Hold A Memorial Services
Do not underestimate the value of rituals for emotional support and closure!
Memorial services allow employees to grieve, honor, and remember a lost colleague. Holding a memorial service within the organization creates a supportive environment that offers emotional support and closure.
Not everyone is going to be comfortable attending the service held by the family, especially those who don't know the employee well. Giving your team and the rest of the organization a chance to have closure will do wonders for your team's well-being.
This ritual acknowledges the loss and demonstrates to employees that they matter. That's a strong message. Memorial services help individuals process their emotions and strengthen social connections within the organization, promoting a sense of unity and commitment.
You can even hold a service if there is a layoff! I suggest, however, that you keep it limited to the team. Many organizations will be against this, fearing it will stir the pot of uncertainty that a layoff causes. Still, it can make your team feel more committed to each other, which would have the reverse effect of a layoff.
If it is around the death of an employee, it's a powerful gift to invite the family. The team shares their condolences more directly, and the family gets to see how much their person meant to the team. It's a win-win!
c) A Not-Done-But-Great-Solution:
Mark an Anniversary:
Marking an anniversary helps sustain connections and demonstrate care to your team. Anniversary dates hold significant meaning for individuals who have experienced loss. Recognizing these dates provides an opportunity to honor the memory of a dead team employee but also fosters a sense of belonging. Leaders show they still care, which can cause significant increases in well-being. The marking of the anniversary can be a light celebration or a gathering that aligns with the interests of the deceased employee. Marking anniversaries creates a space for remembrance and reflection. It sends a powerful message to the team that their well-being is valued and that they are part of a community.
Look, death or layoffs cause chaos and a lot of uncomfortable feelings. Leaders need to prioritize the well-being of their team members, and as demonstrated above, it takes very little. By working together, holding memorial services, and marking anniversaries, leaders can foster connection and nurture a sense of unity within the team. These practices help individuals cope with grief and difficult transitions and contribute to a healthier and more engaged work environment.
Remember, as a leader, your actions profoundly impact your team, so prioritize their well-being and let them know they matter.
Did you just lay off employees? Worried about how it will affect your team's well-being and productivity? Let's talk.