A business owner hired us because a long-standing and valuable employee had suffered 4 personal losses in less than 3 months.
Her auntie, mother and husband had died, along with the life plans they had made for the future.
Overwhelmed, she had been off for 2 months when her employer asked Beyond EAP to support and facilitate her return to work. My work with her is a good example of how ‘right’ result is not always the one you expect.
‘Unsure if she wanted to return’
It was a challenging situation for both employer and employee.
The employer wanted to support their employee, who was an important member of the work family. But they were unsure if she wanted to return, or the best way to find that out. They didn’t want to influence her decision – out of respect for her and also, from a legal perspective, because that could be seen as grounds for a claim of constructive dismissal. (A very unlikely outcome but one that had to be considered.)
The employee didn’t know what she wanted to do. Emotionally very vulnerable, she felt overwhelmed by competing responsibilities that she found impossible to prioritise.
Everyone was stuck, and the role remained unfilled.
‘Outside source to guide her through her thoughts and feelings’
Using coaching and deep questioning I could to help her start processing all the losses that had come into her life. I could be an ‘outside source’ to guide her through her thoughts and feelings.
Quite quickly, she realised that ‘life was too short’, and that she needed to do what felt right for her.
After just 3 sessions with me she was able to let her supportive employer know that she wanted to resign. At that point in her life, her priority was not work.
It was a practical help for the employer, who was able to immediately interview and hire someone to fill the role.
‘Leaving with a new plan for her future’
And they felt reassured that they’d done the right thing by giving full support and hiring me to help made them employers of choice.
The employee left knowing that she'd been supported and was happy with her decision. And with new plan for her future.
It was a decision that might have taken months to reach while her mind was in such shock following the sudden deaths. Left to make it alone, the decision to leave could have created lots of anxiety and needless guilt.
Let’s hear her story
‘My employer kindly funded Bereavement/Return to Work sessions from Beyond EAP.
‘A support coach visited me at my home which was great for me, as I had been feeling very reluctant to venture away from home. Having lost 2 very close members of my family 6 months apart, and then my husband suddenly in May this year, I found these sessions extremely beneficial. The first thing Sandie pointed out was that I had actually had 4 losses. The fourth being my life, future and how I can deal with this.
‘I learnt to think more about myself’
‘I learnt to think more about myself. I had not really allowed myself any ‘me’ time. I have always looked after others before myself, worrying about them, and how to help them. Soon after my husband passed away, and with some advice from family and friends, I decided to go back to work a couple of days a week on reduced hours. I thought ‘a focus would do me good’.
‘After the first session and during the following week, I spent a lot of time considering my employment and the effect it was having on my wellbeing and health, and my two daughters.
‘I also made a huge decision and bought a puppy!
‘After session 2, I decided to take some time away from work and I handed in my notice. My owner and manager were extremely sympathetic and understanding, and I left work at the end of the week (they waived my notice period).
‘I also made a huge decision and bought a PUPPY ! Feeling confident to do this and the fact I have my puppy for company has given me so much pleasure. I am able to think a little about my future. I do not believe I would have been able to do this without the counselling.’
‘My support coach was an amazing, compassionate lady. Totally professional, and from her own experiences, she is able to give honest, sound advice and help. She has also given me a lot of diagrams and techniques which I use to help me cope when I am feeling really down. Thank you so much. I would definitely recommend Beyond EAP to any employers and I have recommended them to a couple of my friends.’
So, although the initial coaching aim was to enable the employee to return feeling supported, it helped her make a life-changing decision and allowed the employer to re-hire sooner than expected.
Get in touch if you need help supporting an employee experiencing loss – together we can find the right result for everyone.