Guest: Matt Troskey, VP People Operations

Matt covered a ton in a short amount of time! Here’s the TLDW;
(or you could just hit play!)

HR expert Matt Troskey shares his journey through grief and how it shaped his approach to supporting others in the workplace. Drawing from personal experiences, he offers valuable advice on building resilience, prioritizing well-being, and structuring effective bereavement response programs.

Commitment to Duty:
-Leaders must be prepared to dedicate extra time and effort to fulfill their responsibilities during challenging times, recognizing their role and the expectations placed upon them.

Maintaining Groundedness:
-Personal resilience and grounding gained through previous experiences can help leaders navigate crises with stability and clarity. Building a supportive inner circle of trusted colleagues or friends can provide valuable emotional support and perspective.

Matt’s suggestions for structuring a bereavement response program in the workplace:

Empathy Leave:
-Offer empathy leave to cover various situations where employees may need time off to grieve or support others. Ensure consistency in applying this policy to avoid disparities in treatment across different situations or departments.

Sick Leave Policy:
-Implement a robust sick leave policy that provides a safety net for employees during times of personal loss or family emergencies. Consider the psychological impact and peace of mind that accrued sick leave can offer to employees facing bereavement.

Remote Work Infrastructure:
-Provide necessary tools and resources for remote work, such as laptops with VPN access, to enable employees to continue working while dealing with personal crises or supporting others in need.

Insurance and Counseling Support:
-Ensure that life insurance policies include access to counselors or mental health professionals to support employees and their families during times of grief.

-Strengthen the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) with comprehensive resources, including webinars, web resources, and counseling services, to aid in personal and professional development before and after a loss.

Community Partnerships:
-Establish partnerships with local emergency medical services (EMS) or counseling organizations to provide additional support and resources for employees during difficult times.

-Explore opportunities for on-site support, such as chaplaincy programs or grief counseling, to assist employees in coping with loss and trauma.

Training and Awareness:
-Conduct training sessions for managers and employees on mental health first aid, recognizing signs of grief, and providing appropriate support and resources.

-Foster a culture of empathy and support within the organization by encouraging meaningful gestures, such as acknowledging changes in behavior, offering support without intrusive questioning, and organizing commemorative events or activities to honor the memory of deceased employees.

Organizational Culture:
-Recognize and value the emotional labor involved in supporting employees through bereavement and trauma, even if it may not directly contribute to measurable productivity or performance metrics.

-Encourage organic expressions of support and remembrance within the workplace, such as informal gatherings, memorial tributes, and personalized gestures to honor the memories of departed colleagues.

Documentation and Follow-Up:
-Summarize key elements of the bereavement response program and provide guidelines for managers and employees in a clear and accessible format.

-Offer ongoing support and follow-up to ensure that employees feel supported throughout the grieving process and beyond.

Appreciation and Gratitude:
-Express gratitude to individuals who contribute to supporting bereaved employees and fostering a compassionate organizational culture.

-Acknowledge the generosity of employees who voluntarily organize commemorative events or provide comfort and assistance to their colleagues during times of loss.

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