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P-18 How compassionate is your workplace? Supporting local businesses to be compassionate workplaces
  1. Jenni Homewood
  1. St Helena Hospice, Colchester, UK


Background The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted that many organisations needed to review their practices to support their workforce facing loss, grief and bereavement. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development states ‘A compassionate approach is vital to remain connected, mentally healthy, and productive while we battle through the challenges we face at work and beyond’ (The role of compassion in the workplace. 2020). Research highlights the importance of compassion in the workplace following a bereavement to ensure retention of staff and healthy mental wellbeing (Marie Curie, 2021; Hospice UK. Compassionate Employers workplace support [online]). It was recognised that developing training would be beneficial for organisations to support compassion in their workplace.

Aims To develop a training session that engages employers to support and guide their workforce during life’s most difficult moments. To deliver the training to external organisations and businesses. To support a compassionate communities approach to improve end of life care and support to all.

Methods Training was developed using a multi-disciplinary approach, specifically to support and guide local business workforces by:

  • Providing a framework to understand loss, grief, and the impact of bereavement.

  • Developing empathetic conversations.

  • Improving management of staff and colleagues with kindness.

  • Promoting compassionate leadership culture.

  • Providing resources for policies, wellbeing, and guidance.

Results Training is being delivered to a range of organisations. The responses and feedback provided after attending this has been very positive:

  • 100% of participants agreed their knowledge about planning for end of life has increased.

  • 100% of participants agreed their understanding of a compassionate approach in the workplace has increased.

  • 100% of participants recommended that other organisations attend this training.

Conclusion 85 attendees from at least ten different workplaces have completed the training so far, with the unanimous message being that all workplaces should implement a compassionate approach to grief and bereavement. The outcome shows that hospices can effectively influence the workplace culture to become compassionate workplaces.

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