Bereavement is one of the most common factors that can impact an employee’s performance in the workplace, and yet many major companies are not fully equipped or prepared to deal with it. This #charitytuesday, discover what national charity Child Bereavement UK are doing to spread the word about the benefits of bereavement training.
It is estimated that at any one point in time, 1 in 10 employees is affected by bereavement and previous studies have shown that:
- One-third of employees who had been bereaved in the past 5 years did not feel they had received a compassionate response from their employer
- Employers can experience a 44% increase in sickness absence following bereavement
Bereavement in the workplace training
Virgin Money partnered with national charity, Child Bereavement UK, to help its staff improve their skills and confidence in managing bereavement. The company has made the charity’s ‘Bereavement in the workplace’ training programme available through its online learning platform to all of its 3,000 employees.
Child Bereavement UK, the leading provider of bereavement training, reports significant benefits to bereaved employees who receive sensitive and appropriate support from their employer, including:
- Effective management of individual performance and return to productivity
- Improved motivation, commitment and attitude to work
- Reduced sickness absence
- Reduced staff turnover through increased loyalty to the organisation
- Reduced risk of employee dissatisfaction and, in extreme cases litigation, through alleviation of any workplaces stresses
- For some occupations, effective management of health and safety risks
Matt Elliott, People Director at Virgin Money, said;
We are delighted with the benefits our partnership with Child Bereavement UK is delivering. It is equipping our staff to support their colleagues, and indeed our customers, to handle bereavement with greater confidence.”
The training provided by Child Bereavement UK includes film footage of Emily Arch who was supported by Child Bereavement UK after her second daughter, Abbie, was stillborn in September 2013. Emily talks constructively about her experiences – both helpful and less helpful – of interactions with her employer and colleagues on the news of her daughter’s death, her return to work after maternity leave and settling back into her job. Emily says
“I contacted Child Bereavement UK a little while after Abbie died. I found that very few people around me had any idea what to say to me and tried to get everything back to normal as soon as they could – people seemed to feel uncomfortable around me or avoided me altogether. I needed support for myself and my family to just get by day by day. Also for longer-term strategies for managing difficult situations that used to be ‘normal’ – like parent and toddler groups where there are lots of new babies, or when I went back to work, when people knew I’d been on maternity leave would ask about the baby. If I told them she had died, they usually backed away from the whole conversation – which left me feeling very alone in both those settings at times.”
What you can do
If you have been affected by bereavement and would like to speak to someone, you can contact Child Bereavement UK or if you would like to support this fantastic cause, you can do so via Virgin Money Giving.