Is Your Workplace Compassion-Ready?


Much of what our society has come to understand about grief has come through various studies of people who have received grief counselling. We’ve come to think of grief as a problem that needs specialised care. A problem that only those specially trained should address. The tricky thing with this is, most people don’t actually get grief counselling when they suffer a loss. They turn to the people closest to them, the people they see every day; their family, friends and colleagues.
So whilst grief specialists are truly brilliant in the care and support they provide, it cannot be up to them alone. Responding to the people in our lives facing loss is something we all must engage in.

We’ve hosted many conversations in the workplace about mortality, grief, death and dying. The conversations stir up our thoughts and feelings on how we approach the topic and how we think about our own future and those we love. They enable deeper connections which ultimately we all need, to face end of life.

1 in 4 people are grieving in the workplace right now.
An average of 30 days a year are lost by employees who do not receive adequate support from their workplace.


These sobering statistics are having an impact on our work and social life that must be addressed.

We are passionate about building resilient, supportive, compassionate workplaces because we’ve seen the impact it can have on individuals and entire workplaces.
The GroundSwell Project has been developing and refining our Compassion@work Program. These conversations encourage workplaces to reflect on what practices they have in place to support employees facing loss and help navigate a best practice approach. On an individual level, these conversations enable deeper connections with family, friends and colleagues, ultimately better preparing us to face end of life equipped with greater knowledge, confidence and support.

Sociologist Michael Young, one of the architects of the post-war British welfare state and doyen of community studies, toward the end of his life concluded:

‘Death is the common experience which can make all members of the human race feel their common bonds and their common humanity’
(Young and Cullen, 1996, 201)

We have developed a responsive approach so that what-ever business you are in, whatever type of organisation, there will be a starting point for you that makes sense to your people and we will go from there. 

Ways we can help;

  • When you need immediate support to respond to an unexpected loss in the workplace (how you respond within the first 24 hours is critical)

  • Creating an open and authentic space in your organisation to talk about grief and end of life

  • Get creative with simple practices and tools that foster support between staff

  • Up-skilling around navigating support and the aged care system for ageing parents

 Whether its preparing for end of life by building death literacy by learning through imaginative and practical tools, or whether it’s time to create your own workplace compassion charter, we’ve got you covered.

As always with so much of social change work, we’re able to apply our insights and practice by standing on the shoulders of others, building on hard work that has come before us. We want to acknowledge others who work in the grief space, we know from speaking with you that workplaces are not often ready to welcome the conversation (especially if it’s not core business!). We bring our full selves to the mission, to facilitate end of life support through building a compassionate community at work.

We’re developing new creative tools to go with the program and will be working with some incredible workplaces who are stepping up over the next few months. We’re focusing on medium-size corporate workplaces as well as helping aged care and health service sectors. 
For more information on how we can help your workplace, contact us below and we’ll send you a program prospectus. 

Holly SmithComment