Compassionate Employer Recognition Awards 2015

By: Wendy Goy - Tobin Brothers Funerals
Monday, March 30, 2015

Why is it that the positive news stories so seldom make the papers? Perceptions of workplace relations can be skewed with tales of staff being underpaid, bullied, taken advantage of or failing to contribute in their role.

The good news story you may have missed is that on Friday 13 March 2015, 18 Employers were recognised by Compassionate Friends of Victoria and the Rotary Club of Geelong Central at the 2015 Compassionate Employer Recognition Awards, held in Queens Hall, Parliament House.


The stories that were shared at this event were of workplaces large and small who recognise the importance caring for their staff.  Each of the 18 organisations received acknowledgement for “going above and beyond following the death of an employees loved one”.

Anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one will agree on the difficulty of functioning  “normally” at  work after the standard 3 days ”bereavement leave”.   Some of the tangible ways in which the Compassionate Employers provided assistance were extra leave, flexible work arrangements, altered duties, counselling, participating in training to understand grief, providing meals, listening and acknowledging the difficult times. Many of these employers found it difficult to understand that they had done anything special, asking “isn’t this how all workplaces are?” and stating that they wanted to live out their core values rather than have them filed away in “procedures”.

Nominations for the Compassionate Employer Recognition Awards are made by the staff member who has suffered the loss. These employees wanted to publicly acknowledge their employer and colleagues and thank them for the enormous difference that their support had made.

We were privileged to be present at this event because one of our staff nominated Tobin Brothers Funerals to receive an award.


The “public” face of a funeral director is of a calm, empathetic and competent person who guides and assists clients through the dark days following a death. Sometimes that “public” face masks our own family concerns, illnesses and bereavements. The Management Team of Tobin Brothers Funerals is committed to ensure that our staff feel supported and cared for in the same manner in which we care for our clients.

We were nominated by our colleague Phil O’Donnell. In the past few years Phil and his wife have experienced the unexpected deaths of their daughter Melissa (in 2011) and granddaughter Emmerson (in 2014) as well as both sets of their parents. We are humbled to be recognised for the support we have given the O’Donnells and remain in awe of the courage, love and strength which they share and demonstrate.

In late 2013, Tobin Brothers Funerals produced a video about Compassionate Friends Victoria and its support of people who have lost a child or sibling. The video is a profound insight into the emotional struggle confronting the bereaved. To view the short documentary in full, click on the thumbnail below:

Congratulations to the 2015 Compassionate Employers for enacting their commitment to compassion, to their extraordinary teams and the nominees:

  • Australian Red Cross International programs
  • Catholic Regional College Sydenham
  • Econnect Communication
  • Hume City Council
  • Isis Primary Care
  • Lend lease Construction and infrastructure
  • Mecwacare
  • Mount View Primary School
  • Muscular Dystrophy Australia
  • Pacific Hydro Investments Pty Ltd
  • Rondalee pty ltd
  • R & J Batteries
  • School of Rural Health (Monash University)
  • Secure eHost Pty Ltd
  • Tobin Brothers Funerals
  • Vibro Products
  • Waranambool City Council
  • WAYSS Ltd


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