Why sign up?

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Benefits of our Compassionate Employer programme:

• We can help you to offer improved support to employees when they are bereaved, or a carer of a terminally ill person, as well as knowing how to respond when an employee dies

• By offering good support you will improve staff morale, employee retention and overall reputation

• You will be able to reduce the costs of employee attrition caused by poor bereavement support - it is more cost effective to retain an employee as any loss of productivity is likely to be less than the overall costs of recruiting new staff

• The resources we offer are tried and tested and have been developed by experts in the area of bereavement support

• It is the only programme that offers a trademark CE award logo for organisations that meet the assessment criteria

Download the pdf information flyer ‘Did U Know’ for more information


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Our Survey

In January 2014, the National Council for Palliative Care, in partnership with the Dying Matters Coalition and the National Bereavement Alliance published ‘Life after death: six steps to improve support in bereavement’.

The report included findings from ComRes research undertaken in 2013 for the National Council for Palliative Care and Dying Matters which found that:

• A third of people (32%) who were bereaved in the last five years whilst in a job did not feel that their employer treated them with compassion.

• More than half (56%) of people said they would consider leaving their job if their employer did not provide proper support if someone close to them died.

• More than four in five people (87%) agreed all employers should have a compassionate employment policy, including paid bereavement leave, flexible working and a range of other support.

• 82% of people said that providing employees with paid bereavement leave was likely to be beneficial to the employer in the long-term.

• 81% said there should be a legal right to receive paid bereavement leave. At present, there is no statutory paid bereavement leave although employees have the right to “reasonable” unpaid time off to deal with practicalities such as arranging a funeral.

Click here to read Life after death: six steps to improve support in bereavement


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Self Assessment Tool

The self assessment tool is designed to help organisations think about what they currently have in place to support bereaved employees and where there may be areas for improvement. Use this tool to see if the Compassionate Employer programme can help your organisation with those improvements by raising awareness with managers and staff of what becoming a compassionate employer means.


Once registered on the Compassionate Employer programme the organisation will be offered a meeting with the programme team to review their current practices using more detailed assessment criteria, with the ultimate aim of achieving the Compassionate Employer award.


Ask yourself or discuss with colleagues:


1. Does your bereavement policy fully support your staff?


2. Does your organisation offer paid pre bereavement leave/support?


3. Following bereavement do you offer your staff a phased return to work


4. Does your organisation allow flexibility of hours when a bereaved person is returning to work (and during pre-bereavement)?


5. Does your organisation provide help to other staff to enable them to support their colleagues returning to work after bereavement?


6. Does your organisation signpost bereaved staff to other supportive services?


7. Do you feel your organisation is doing everything it can to support bereaved members of staff?


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Case Study: npower and St Giles Hospice – Experiencing Loss and Bereavement Support

This case study summarises an exercise undertaken by Npower Domestic Care and Maintenance, Burton and St Giles hospice in 2014. Ian Leech from St Giles hospice orginated content for the training sessions used in the exercise. Ian’s content is also the foundation for the Compassionate Employer programme’s ‘employee workshop’ that Ian has been instrumental in developing and delivering for the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC).


The aim of the exercise was to educate the line managers of the site on the importance of managing bereavement and the impact of not doing it well.


The overwhelming response by those attended was that it was well worth the time given and they are better armed to handle a situation should it unfortunately arise.


There has been interest by managers who were unable to attend to go to any follow up sessions when available.


What issue was the company facing?

Npower Domestic Care and Maintenance, Burton takes wellbeing of its people very seriously and was looking to increase the awareness of best practice surrounding Bereavement in the Workplace.


The company holds a clear policy which gives guidelines to “time off” for any employee affected by bereavement and has links into various organisations for support. However, there is no standard induction for managers that gives direction on best practice.


The objective was to create a bereavement awareness mentality that meant managers were better prepared to support their people through a very difficult period in their life.


What action did the organisation take?

Npower reviewed the opportunities available to them with Ian which included a review of their current policy on bereavement and putting in place a process for raising awareness within line managers. As a result Ian agreed to hold 3 x hour long discussion sessions with the objective to:

• Enable staff to understand how bereavement impacts on a person both emotionally and physically and how it can affect the bereaved person’s wider family

• Ensure the session isn’t just a powerpoint presentation but instead, be discussion based with exercises to bring the subject to life

• Make any material available to Npower for future use.


What has been the impact of implementing the change?

Fortunately, there have so far been no cases of needing to implement the learning’s from the sessions. However, when asked about the confidence levels in now being able to handle the situation, 100% of attendees said “Yes”.

Other comments offered included:

"...I know what to say and what not to say...:

"...Raising the profile and getting us to think about something you otherwise wouldn’t...”

"...Highlighting possible impacts / consequences on different members of a family and the organisation...”

“...Understanding bereavement and the bigger impact it has...”

“...My best friend’s mum passed away 3 years ago and it was difficult to know the right and wrong things to say. A session like this would have been helpful in this situation and I now feel better prepared for if something like this happens again...”

These give confidence that the learning taken from the session will look to be implemented and should offer a more personal experience for the person affected.


Next Steps

Only 30% of the target management population attended the session. Npower have recognised that there is enough evidence from those who attended to run further sessions to make people aware of the best practice and look forward to working with Ian and St Giles further.

Please get in touch to have a discussion about the Compassionate Employers programme and award.

More information