Time heals all wounds? HRM and bereavement in the workplace

By Diane M. Bergeron
Center for Creative Leadership


Over the past two years, there have been many popular press articles about grief in the workplace. Despite this recent COVID-19-related attention, bereavement (i.e., the reaction to a loss by death) has always been a universal human experience. The intention of this short concept statement is to bring attention to and spur HRM research efforts on bereavement in the workplace. Part of the challenge in dealing with bereavement is the empathy-efficiency paradox – the perception that workplace goals often conflict with the needs of bereaved employees. After providing an overview of bereavement, I explain how this potential paradox can make bereavement more difficult – not only for bereaved employees, but for managers and coworkers as well – with formal policies and practices unintentionally disenfranchising grief. I also suggest some ways to address this perceived paradox. Subsequently, several generative research directions are suggested. Given the large role that HRM plays in making the workplace more humane, bereavement seems like a topic worthy of our research attention.


Bergeron, D. M. (2022). Time heals all wounds? HRM and bereavement in the workplace. Human Resource Management Review. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hrmr.2022.100931


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