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Human Resources Director | How to support grieving employees

HRD Asia: If you feel isolated or as though you have no one to talk to, experiencing loss or a death in your life can hit you extra hard, making it even tougher to cope through the grief.

Ang Sze Pheng, director of HR for APAC at WWT, recently sat down with journalist Nurhuda Syed to discuss how to support employees suffering from grief.

by Nurhuda Syed, News Editor of HRD Asia

Managing loss is hard enough - in isolation it's devastating

It’s always really hard to manage the loss of a loved one. But what if you have to do it without proper closure or the support of friends and family? That’s likely what losing someone during the pandemic feels like. You can’t safely visit them or say your final goodbyes with lockdowns in place. You may not even be able to meet your loved ones for a comforting hug, words or the quiet physical presence of a strong support network as you cope with the grief.

A crucial step to helping you achieve some form of closure is being able to say your final goodbyes to your loved one. Unfortunately, with the pandemic raging on, it would have been difficult or near impossible to do so, due to strict restrictions around hospital visits and mass gatherings at funerals and wakes.

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So as an employer, what can you do to support someone going through grief amidst a prolonged pandemic? “It is definitely more difficult, because it is quite difficult to have a visit to give that physical comfort to the other person,” said Ang Sze Pheng, director of HR for APAC at WWT. “At the same time we want to be sensitive about it. At WWT, unfortunately, we did have a couple of employees that experienced [a loss].

“As a start, it is on the leadership, like the manager, [company] communications, and leaders to very quickly send their condolences to the employees. Also, it is always our practice that the first thing we ask is, ‘What do you need from us? Is there anything that we can do to help?’”

 

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