Find out how St Michael’s Hospice became the first hospice to join our Compassionate Employers workplace programme, supporting their employees through grief, dying and caring.
About this innovation example
Project and outcomes
Compassionate Employers is Hospice UK’s workplace programme, which supports over 43,000 employees through grief, caring and dying. It provides online resources, expertise and specialist advice to help employers support their staff through grief, caring responsibilities or a life-changing diagnosis.
Although hospices are well versed in supporting their communities through death, dying and grief, it can be challenging to provide the same level of support to staff and volunteers. Since the COVID-19 pandemic it has become clear that the hospice workforce need more support to cope with all forms of stress.
In recognition of this, St Michael’s Hospice in St-Leonard’s-on-Sea joined Compassionate Employers as a pilot hospice member.
Compassionate Employers visited the hospice on 17 March 2023, to launch the programme in person. The day included three different workshops, themed cupcakes, an overview of the programme and development of an action plan for the future. There were over 50 employees engaged in the day.
The hospice has carried out a self-assessment as part of the programme and been benchmarked against other workplaces across the UK. This enabled them to receive tailored recommendations, training and online resources.
St Michael’s was recently awarded a Compassionate Employers Silver Award, recognising the hospice’s commitment to supporting employees through grief, dying and caring.
“Really useful session, very interactive and engaging”
Participant in the Supporting Carers workshop
Facilitators, challenges and advice
St Michael’s already had a relationship with Hospice UK, which helped to facilitate conversations about becoming a Compassionate Employer.
Hospice UK’s knowledge about the hospice sector and expertise around death, dying and loss meant they could provide tailored support and ensure employees got the most out of the training and resources.
The Compassionate Employers programme works on a 12-month cycle, which helps organisations to work continuously towards improving their support offer for employees.
As the first hospice member of Compassionate Employers, there were some initial reservations about having St Michael’s workplace support assessed. As being compassionate is core to the work hospices do, there were some concerns that this could be quite exposing or have a negative impact. The Compassionate Employers team understood this and were able to carry out the assessment and share learning sensitively.
It can be difficult to raise awareness of the programme across the hospice. With employees in a range of roles, the team has worked to make sure everyone has access to the programme and understands its benefits.
Tips and advice
Don’t be afraid to do the self-assessment. It can be really beneficial to have external experts look through your support options and offer recommendations. Even as hospices, there is more than can be done to support your own employees.
Make your launch as interactive as possible. The more employees that engage with the training and conversations, the more likely they are to take up the support or signpost a colleague to the support as needed.
St Michael’s are currently working towards the Compassionate Employers Gold Award, which includes increasing their support for working carers; introducing a Carers Policy; training line managers; and more.