It’s not uncommon to feel lost for words when an employee experiences the death of a family member or friend. You may feel that no amount of words or supportive gifts will help your colleague or employee cope with the loss of someone they loved. It’s hard to know where to draw the line, too. Although it’s important to voice your care and concern, it can also be important to keep your relationship professional. So how can you find a good balance?
Here at Hallmark Business Connections, we specialize in crafting the right words and gestures to help you keep relationships with your employees strong. It’s important to understand that strong employee relationships are not just built on what goes on while they’re on the clock, but what goes on in their personal lives, too.
When an employee is grieving, it can often be the smallest gesture that makes the biggest impact. Expressing concern, whether verbally or in writing, can show your employee that your thoughts are with them and their family, making the individual feel supported and cared for by the entire office.
Read below our best ways to express sympathy and care and concern to those that you work with.
5 Ways to Show Sympathy, Care and Concern to Employees
1. Be Genuine
Above all else, any message of care and concern needs to be genuine. In other words, take the time to write or verbally express concern from the heart. Go beyond simply saying “I’m sorry this happened” and strive to create a human moment that shows the employee you truly care about them.
As noted in Entrepreneur Magazine, establishing this type of personal connection with staff can benefit the office as a whole. Adopting a human approach to business management will ensure that you build a happy and motivated team of people around you. It will also show employees that you respect their personal circumstances.
2. Send a Sympathy Card (or Leave One on Their Desk)
Many business leaders struggle to find the right words to say when employees experience the death of a loved one. Depending on the individual employee, it may be appropriate to express condolences in person or over the phone. In other cases, it may be more respectful to send a sympathy card to show the employee you are wishing him or her comfort. If it’s not quite time for a sympathy card yet, let them know you’re thinking about them by sending a care and concern card instead.
3. Offer to Help
For a grieving employee, the challenges of everyday life can often feel insurmountable.
To show support and empathy in times such as these, journalist Angela Ogunjimi recommends that managers and colleagues simply offer to help—whether in or out of the office. Lend a hand by taking some of your coworker’s tasks off their to-do list. Or offer to cook a meal, babysit, wash clothes, relay messages or make phone calls on their behalf.
4. Make a Charitable Donation
Flowers, fruit, plants and other gifts can say to employees “I am here for you” or “I’m thinking of you.” For some employees, a cash donation to a charitable organization might also be a nice way of expressing concern and sympathy.
It’s important, however, to make sure that the organization has a special significance to the family experiencing the loss of their loved one. A donation to the Humane Society might, for example, make sense for an animal lover, whereas a donation to the local public library would be more appropriate for a person who loved to read.
5. Follow Up
Grief isn’t a temporary emotion—it’s one that comes and goes as time passes.
To express sympathy over the long-term, make it a point to follow up on the anniversary of the death of an employee’s loved one. A follow-up care and concern message can add remembrance and thoughtfulness at a future time when grief may be strong.
In conclusion, during times of grief, it’s important for you to show support to employees by expressing messages of genuine concern and condolence. Whether sending a Hallmark sympathy card or offering to take on a portion of the employee’s workload while they are out of the office, you can make a big difference with even the smallest gesture. If you’ve decided to write a card to express sympathy or concern, browse 25 Simple Messages That Show Clients and Employees You Care.