The world is currently experiencing unprecedented levels of grief. Individuals, families, and countries are grieving. However, what may have been overlooked is that organisations are living systems and also experiencing grief.
It’s Not Business As Usual
If we stop to think about it, we will see that some staff members or their families have died because of COVID. Moreover, many employees are having to work remotely and grieving for the loss of camaraderie and connection that they used to enjoy. People are losing their jobs as companies close or change their ways of working and face the incredible loss that may mean for them and their families. All these situations cause grief, and people need to be able to mourn their loss.
It cannot be ignored and treated as business as usual, or even business unusual. In fact, there is so much more to it than that. The workplace has changed, and organisations need to review what is required now to attract and retain talented staff members. The pandemic has caused many people to reflect and put more value on their work/life balance. The Zoom fatigue has set in and brought with it a need for more self-care. The isolation has brought more challenges around mental health.
Furthermore, organisations can only be successful through their people and the service they deliver to their clients. As Richard Branson said, “if you look after your employees, they look after your customers”.
The challenge is for organisations to acknowledge the difficulties that their people may be experiencing as a first step. Firstly, they need to create open platforms or spaces where people can go for support. Not everyone needs counselling. Some of them need a friendly shoulder or someone to listen to them. We need managers and leaders who have empathy and can show the value they place on the individual, their contribution and wellbeing.
HR and line managers need to find ways to connect with people, allow them to feel the grief without embarrassment or shame. In addition, they should consider how to provide spaces where they can share their stories and memories and work through grief to emerge whole on the other side. You may want to read more about this. Check out this McKinsey article on grief in the corporate space and what, as a leader, you can do to help: Your organisation is grieving—here’s how you can help.
Do you have a plan for navigating this space? Do you need support as you struggle to support others? At Chameleon Skills, we work with people who work with people, and we can work with you to make your organisation a system worth living and working in. So why not talk to us now?