Empowering Employees Through Sympathy Cards

When it comes to writing out sympathy cards for employees, some people can express their feelings with words on paper much more easily than with words in person.  Others can just get stuck and not know where or how to start.  They feel like if they write too much, it may come across like the recipient is reading a long paragraph on how sorry you are for their loss.  Yet, if they write too little, it seems as though it was a rushed sentiment, and that they did not take enough time to truly express their heart-felt thoughts. Either way, it is important to empower employees through sympathy cards regardless of the length of the message.

In the office, a sympathy card is a wonderful source of encouragement; it will make the employee feel like they are valued and are thought about on a personal level.  They are inexpensive, yet extremely rich in meaning.  Giving your employee a sympathy card simply implies “I care.”

The death of a loved one is one of the most difficult rough patches a person can go through in their lifetime. Writing a sympathy card is one of the simplest things you can do to help lift your co-worker’s spirit.  Your employee will appreciate the fact you took the time to express your feelings, and that goes a long way.

Sympathy Cards Do’s and Don’ts

The loss of a loved one is a very emotional time for most people.  What to say and do can be a very difficult morass to traverse.  You never want to offend anyone so here are a few sympathy card do’s and don’ts.


  1. Send a sympathy card as soon as possible after hearing of a friend or colleague’s loss. Delaying will just make their grievance longer.
  2. Add a personal note such as “we are keeping you in our prayers” or “we are here if you need us”.
  3. Address the card to the person and their family. You can say John Smith and family or Mary, John, and the Smith family.  Remember the whole family will be grieving and they will all appreciate your thoughtfulness.


  1. Don’t write I know how you feel. This can really sound condescending.  You don’t know how they feel.  Everyone deals with loss differently and you don’t want to convey the impression that their pain is felt the same by everyone, making it insignificant.
  2. Don’t send a typed note. Sympathy cards should always be personal.  Expressing sympathy with a typed note appears cold and unfeeling.
  3. Remember if you feel uncomfortable writing something, it will come across wrong to the recipient.

Most importantly, you should keep in mind that a sympathy card should be a warm expression to help ease a person’s loss.

Words of Sympathy for Fellow Employees

The loss of a loved one knows no boundaries and there are no exceptions.  That’s why is so important to show an expression of sympathy for fellow employees when we learn that someone they cherish has died.

I know how difficult it can be to find the right words to let someone know you are feeling their pain, without being intrusive.  Especially if it’s someone you don’t know very well.  However, news such as this travels quickly through the workplace so usually everyone hears it even if they aren’t particularly close to the person who has suffered the loss.

Sympathy Cards

It’s just as difficult for the person coming to work to deal with co-workers as it is for the co-workers to deal with the person who is grieving.  And everyone deals with grief in their own way.  Just a card to let someone know they are not alone is often appreciated more than anyone knows.  Sympathy cards these days say so much with just a few words and sometimes that’s enough.  You’ve opened the door and are available.

I know when my dad died several years ago I dreaded my first day back to work.  I was going to be seeing people who knew what happened but who I had not seen since the day I left to go to the hospital.  I was comforted by warm smiles and hugs, but what I remember and cherish to this day are the cards that were left on my desk.  People weren’t sure how I would feel after such a devastating event in my lift, but they cared and that meant the world to me.

We can’t really ask for much more than that – kindness from people who are really your extended family.  Some heart felt words of sympathy from people who want you to know they are there for you.