Death is inevitable. At the same time, death can be hard on all survivors. This is particularly true when it’s someone that people know from their work. If you run a business and an employee has passed away, there are certain things you’ll want to keep in mind. You can be there to help all concerned. This includes the deceased. It also includes any members of the deceased’s family as well as your other employees. Careful management of all issues concerning the deceased is a must. Everyone should be allowed to grieve. As an employer, it is also important to remember that you have specific issues that may apply in your case. You are required by law to meet certain legal obligations to any employee who has died.
1- The Employee’s Work Space
An employee’s workspace is their own. Allow everyone to express their grief initially. Ordering appropriate flowers can help. You should treat the space where the employee worked as if they have left and taken another job. That means clearing out their access to any sensitive and company-specific data they might have left behind. Now is the time to make sure you’re changing the employee’s passwords. It’s also time to take their personal items and give them to their next of kin.
If the employee has any company perks such as a company car or electronics, you want to make sure they get returned as promptly as possible. This may also include any company uniforms as well as keys that allowed them access to a secure part of your facilities. You want to have all the items they have used in hand and accounted for within a short time. That allows you to make sure nothing important is missed or potentially compromised.
2- Work Issues
Many employees are part of a much larger group. When an employee dies, you’ll want to see what they did both on their own and as part of many other kinds of projects with other people at work. Contact everyone the person worked with directly and indirectly. For example, if they dealt with vendors, you want to let the vendor know the person is no longer there. That will help others in your company avoid the constant need to explain what has happened to other people again and again.
It’s also best to avoid hiring someone immediately. That allows everyone a chance to process their loss at work. A temporary agency can send someone over to help with many of the tasks the employee did. Once you do hire someone new, be mindful of the feelings of the other employees. Allow them to explain why the deceased was so good at their job and why a new candidate should share these qualities.
3- Financial Obligations
Don’t forget your financial obligations to the deceased. Nearly everyone has earned some form of compensation. That can take the form of a pension, profit-sharing, and paid leave. Make sure you know the exact benefits they’ve earned over time. They may have left a life insurance policy with a named beneficiary. You need to know the name of this person. You’ll also need to know exactly who has the right to any form of company compensation after the employee passes away.