How a flooring company stepped up for their grieving employees
Metropolitan isn't just any flooring company. They quote Maya Angelou and talk about kindness on their 'About Us' page, and are as passionate today about their people-focused culture, as they were when they opened their doors in 1992. From the company's roots in Canada and the Pacific North West, Metropolitan has grown into a 250 person company with offices across North America.
As they've grown, Metropolitan has remained committed to people and kindness, and one of the people at the heart of this culture was Brady Page, the company's VP, Sales & Marketing. Brady was well known for bringing energy, passion and a love of people to every corner of the company. He exuded the kindness that sits at the heart of Metro's culture, so when he died suddenly in November, his loss was deeply felt, not only by his partner and children, but also by the people he worked side-by-side with every day. Metropolitan's leadership team wanted to honor Brady, by bringing the team together and creating ways for them to connect and also receive support.
Katherine Nielsen, one of Brady's mentees at Metropolitan, took the lead on hosting a virtual Celebration of Life that would allow Brady's family and coworkers to come together, despite the pandemic. She worked with Gathering Us to host the memorial and, afterwards, felt that she'd done something for Brady that echoed the way he valued the people in his life.
"Our leadership team believes that it's OK to bring your humanity to work. They also understand that grief isn't just a 2-week process and that there are business wins too, when employees are supported and therefore better able to function effectively at work," Katherine said. "Here we understand that the world can feel different after someone dies. We wanted to find meaningful, longer-term ways to support our team, so when I heard about Grief Coach's personalized, year-long, text support program I reached out right away."
And I'm so glad they did. We quickly set up a package of Grief Coach subscriptions so that Metro employees were able to sign up for personalized, year-long, grief support immediately following Brady's Celebration of Life. We're now texting tips and suggestions, at least twice a week, to grieving employees as well as to the friends and family who want to support them.
Working with Metropolitan makes me hopeful that more employers will follow their lead and provide additional support when someone dies. Just last week New York Life announced an expansion of their company bereavement benefit. They now provide 15 days' PTO for grieving employees, far more than the average of only 3 days' PTO offered by US employers. I'm grateful to companies like Metropolitan and New York Life, who understand the value of employee wellness. Bereavement benefits like theirs recognize the impact of grief in the workplace, and help to provide the caring environments and policies that are so important when people are returning to work after a loss.