“Thank you so much for your understanding. I can’t believe how lucky I am to have a boss like you.”. While the words were said via text, I could imagine the emotion behind them. They had just received the sudden and heart-wrenching news of losing a loved one and were concerned that taking a few days off to bury their loved one and mourn was going to impact their position negatively. In short, they were worried they would get fired.
I was boggled. To me, this is a no-brainer. Was their loss of work inconvenient? Sure. I had to work more, pull more people in and re-arrange schedules. Did it matter? No. I would never change my decision to allow someone to mourn the loss of a loved one. Not now or ever.
Apparently they had seen others who had lost their job because they needed a week or two off to “pull themselves together”. Because they lived in a “right to work” state which allows for any reason of termination short of discrimination, there was no way to fight it. To me, it was unjust and should count as discrimination anyways.
Folks, when we treat our employees like numbers and just as “ways to get things done” versus the human beings they are; we miss out. Big time. We miss out on loyalty, hard-work, dedication and who knows what else that could have a positive impact on your business.
We as leaders should be mindful of not sacrificing compassion even if inconvenient. Especially for this type of loss. We may find that we no longer have workers left.