Insurance · 5 July 2018

What to do when an employee dies: Show your staff you care for them and their families

employee dies
Should the unthinkable happen and an employee dies, group life insurance will financially support their loved ones

As a business owner, it’s your worst nightmare. The thought of losing one of your team in the event of death is, for most, simply inconceivable. Within any business, the sudden loss of a team member can be truly devastating and it’s perhaps felt all the more visible within a smaller business.

So, what steps can you take to help prepare for such a situation and care for your team? Here, Mike Preston, business development director for the online group life insurance comparison site, looks at the possible answers.

Working for a small business can feel like family. The life we lead at work often occupies a significant share of our time on this earth, possibly more so than the downtime we get to enjoy with our loved ones. So, when a business loses a key member of the team, especially in unforeseen circumstances, it can be almost as profound – and yet the processes available to deal with such a loss are nowhere near as defined.

Emotional wellbeing

For a business director, the emotional wellbeing of a team is always a priority. In a bereavement situation, supporting the team to address feelings they are experiencing is a must. Temporary provision of counselling and other therapies can help colleagues process the emotional impact it will undoubtedly have on their everyday lives.

Group and individual talking sessions run in-house or with external specialists can help workers express their feelings to an employer and fellow workmates too.

A sensitively timed away day may also serve well to encourage a team to re-group, support and communicate with each other on a level not always achievable at work.

Operationally, practical adjustments are then needed for a business to continue functioning. The empty desk can act as constant reminder of the loss of a friend and colleague, felt all the more within a small team.

Dealing with the space any individual leaves professionally can only be made after first acknowledging what their absence signifies personally. This is where employee benefits such as group life insurance can offer real solace to a workforce.

Group life insurance

As a business, group life insurance – also known as death in service – can be an affordable way of providing security and support for your team.

Should the unthinkable happen and a colleague dies, whether at work or home, group life insurance will financially support their loved ones by providing a lump-sum payment.

Knowing that the family of your colleague is being looked after financially will no doubt bring great peace of mind to the rest of the team, that you as an employer have looked after “one of their own”. Ever more relevant in the modern age, businesses using today’s “gig economy” are even beginning to appreciate the importance employee benefits can bring, in demonstrating care for an individual worker.

Finally, and sadly for all kinds of business operating across a range of sectors, the financial impact losing an employee brings with it must also always be considered, and budgetary plans adjusted accordingly.

In any event, avoiding complacency is key if your business is to support the emotional wellbeing of your employees and should always be a matter more of preparation, than reaction.

Mike Preston is business development director at

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Mike Preston is business development director at ProtectMyPeople, the UK’s first group life insurance comparison site.

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