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Ignoring Grief: Why Employers Must Prioritise Support for Grieving Employees

What is the current situation?

Grief is a universal experience, yet in the workplace, it remains one of the most misunderstood and overlooked aspects of human emotion. Despite its prevalence, many companies fail to recognise the profound impact of grief on their employees' well-being and productivity.

The evidence base demonstrates that a significant number of employees feel unsupported through their grief in the workplace. Shockingly, over 50% of staff members express an intention to leave their roles if not adequately supported through a bereavement. This statistic alone should serve as a wake-up call for employers.

So, why do we continue to ignore the cries for help from grieving employees? We think the answer lies in the discomfort and taboo surrounding discussions about grief. Many people simply don't know how to navigate conversations around loss and death, leading them to avoid the topic altogether.

However, the consequences of this are severe. When employees are left to navigate their grief alone, they experience decreased morale, increased stress, and diminished productivity. More importantly, the lack of support can exacerbate mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, further impacting both the individual and the company as a whole.

Employers must understand that supporting employees through grief isn't just a matter of compassion; it's also a strategic business decision. By acknowledging and addressing grief in the workplace, organizations can foster a culture of empathy, trust, and resilience.

Why does getting it right matter?

Retention and Engagement: When employees feel supported during difficult times, they are more likely to remain loyal to their organisation. Providing adequate support through grief can enhance employee engagement and foster a sense of belonging, ultimately reducing turnover rates and increasing staff satisfaction.


Productivity and Performance: Grieving employees often struggle to concentrate and perform at their best. By offering support and flex, employers can help individuals cope with their emotions and maintain their productivity levels, which will the organisation as a whole.


Reputation: Organisations that prioritise employee well-being and support during challenging times are viewed more favourably by both current and prospective employees. A positive reputation as a compassionate employer can attract top talent and enhance the company's image.



In conclusion, the importance of employers getting support for grieving employees cannot be underestimated. It's time for organisations to break the silence surrounding grief in the workplace and take proactive steps to provide the support and resources necessary for employees to navigate their loss effectively. By doing so, employers not only demonstrate their commitment to employee well-being but also lay the foundation for a healthier, more resilient workforce and a more successful organisation overall.


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