On November 29th Hospice Yukon will be offering a workshop geared towards helping Managers and other workplace leaders establish compassion as a guiding principle in the workplace and create policies that will support employees when their lives are affected by grief and loss. This workshop is offered in partnership with Yukon College and the Northern Institute of Social Justice.

Hospice created this workshop in order to meet a need we could see in the community. We often receive calls from Yukon workplaces when an employee has died or has suffered a significant loss, and co-workers wonder how to provide appropriate support during these challenging times.

This workshop helps managers and supervisors develop practical tools and policies that will help them support grieving employees and provide leadership during times of crisis. They will also learn to anticipate the challenges of both supporting their employees and maintaining workplace productivity during high stress periods at work.

The workshop also features guest speakers who share passionately about how they found unique ways to support grieving employees, and provided effective leadership when significant losses affected their workplaces.

Kelvin Leary, former Deputy Minister of ECO and Environment, has been a great supporter of this workshop since its first offering five years ago. He explains the rationale behind it:

“Planning for grief and loss is a missing piece in our leadership toolbox. We regularly practice fire drills and implement emergency plans that are rarely needed, yet somehow we fail to plan for tremendously impactful events like grief and loss that will inevitably occur in the workplace.”

Loss is indeed an inevitable part of life; it eventually affects all of us. And when it does, we experience the grief not only emotionally, but also physically, mentally, socially and spiritually. Because grief is so all-encompassing, we know that it’s effects really cannot be separated from the workplace.

Some common symptoms of grief that can be seen in the workplace include: having difficulty concentrating, lack of motivation, confusion, memory lapses, anxiety, social withdrawal, fatigue, and more frequent illness, to name a few.

In one study 75% of employees who suffered a major loss say that their reduced ability to concentrate lasted well beyond their bereavement leave. In other words they are bringing their grief to work with them. A grieving employee is more likely to make poor decisions and be less productive, a fact proven by different studies, as well as the experiences of grieving individuals at work.

So, what to do? How can employers help?

The key in helping employees resume productivity at work lies in creating a compassionate workplace. The research clearly bears the proof of why this is worth investing in: organizations who put their people first do better on all indicators of success. Employees who are part of a compassionate workplace feel more loyal to their organization and are more motivated in their work.

If you would like to find out more information about our upcoming workshop, Supporting Your Staff Through Loss and Grief, please contact us at info@hospiceyukon.net, or phone 667-7429. To download the poster click here.

To register phone Yukon College: 668-8710 (CRN 10401)