How to Write a Sympathy Letter to an Employee

Let’s face it – we often tend to get stuck on what to say to someone close to us when they lose someone dear to them. Finding the right words to express yourself can be daunting. But a letter of sympathy can help comfort them in their time of grief.

Here are a few tips, guidelines, a sample format and letter, and elements of a good employee sympathy letter:

Start with a Reason for Your Sympathy. Typically, an employee sympathy letter is more formal than any other note that you’d send to a friend or coworker. For instance, you can start off with words, such as, “We want to express our deepest condolences for your recent loss. It can be quite sad to lose a family member, and we want you to know we are very sorry.”

Offer Your Assistance. Let your employee know that they have your support in case they need your help. What’s more, offer your assistance without obligating your company’s resources. An example of such a note can be, “Kindly let us know if there is anything, we can do to offer our assistance.”

State the Company’s Resources That Might Help. Note that you can state the company resources available that might be of use during their time of grief. Although they might not need your resources, it is imperative to make the offer. It will show that you care.

Grant Them a Paid Leave. Apart from showing that you care and want to help, you can state that you are granting them a paid leave to allow them enough time to deal with the loss. For instance, you can state that, “We have picked someone to help with your office tasks while you are away, and we also want you to know that you can all the time you need to mourn the loss of your mother.”

Use Your Normal Signature in the End. Ideally, you want to send your condolences in a formal way. For this reason, ensure you use your normal signature. Regards is one of the most common signs off signatures for a sympathy message. Other closing signatures include:

  • With warm regards
  • Warmly
  • Sincerely
  • Thinking of you
  • With sympathy
  • Thinking of you

Sympathy Letter Format


Date [The date on Which it Was Written]


Subject: Condolence Letter

Dear; [Name of the Employee]

We are sorry to hear about [relation with the employee and the name of the deceased]. We understand this is a huge loss for you, and it is very difficult to accept this tragic reality. I have not known [mention the deceased] personally, but I have heard a lot about him or her, and I can surely say he or she was truly a gem of a person.

I know that you are a strong and determined person, but I want to let you know that there are many people out here who are willing to help you and be there during this difficult time. We hope that you are well, and we want to let you know that you can take time off to cope up.

Yours sincerely,

[Name and Signature of the Sender]

Sample Sympathy Letter


UnitedHealth Group,

Minnetonka, 9900 Bren Rd

Date: 1st April 2022


Herman J. Stephens

8301 MN-7

Minnesota, MN 55345

Subject: Condolence Letter

Dear Sir,

We are deeply moved to hear about your late sister Mrs. Jeniffer S. Anniston . We understand that it is a huge loss, and it has affected you in a great way. Although I have not known Jenniffer personally, I have heard about her good deeds, and I’m quite certain she impacted your life in a positive way.

Over the time I have been working with you, I know you as a strong and determined person, and I’m sure you’ll overcome your sorrows just fine. Regardless, we also want to let you know that you have the backup of your comrades. We are willing to offer our help during this difficult time. We have also assigned someone to work on your office duties to provide you with enough time to mourn your beloved sister Jeniffer. Many will miss her.

With sadness,

Greg Kildare

CEO United Health Group

Things to Keep in Mind When Writing a Sympathy Letter

Write the letter as soon as possible. When a loved one dies, the family has a specific time-frame for the wake and funeral service. So, you will not have much time to come up with a good letter.

Here are some guidelines in writing a meaningful letter:
  • Write your letter by hand in a piece of paper. It might seem outdated, but it will leave a bigger impact on your employee. It’s a more meaningful gesture.
  • Don’t copy other templates just to seem more articulate. Instead, write the letter in your own voice. It’s highly likely that your employee already knows how you express yourself.
  • Make the letter short
  • Offer comfort and reassurance
  • Include your full name at the end
  • Keep in mind religious beliefs no matter what the bereaved believes in
  • Write the letter from the heart and be thoughtful

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Can I Say Instead of Sorry for Your Loss?

A sympathy letter to your employee is a kind thing to do. When writing the letter, you can say the following things instead of the usual, “ I am sorry for your loss.”

• It can be quite sad to lose a loved one
• I never met [mention the deceased], but I can tell many people admired her/him
• We are covering for you. Take all the time you need
• Take care of yourself
• I am so sorry you are going through this.

What Are Some Things to Say in a Sympathy Card?

Often, writing a sympathy card is both emotional and challenging. You might struggle finding the right words to offer comfort, empathy, and support. Here are some mindful messages to inspire an intimate, thoughtful offering of compassion.

• I am thinking of you and your loved ones during this difficult moment
• I am saddened to hear of your loss.
• You are in my thoughts
• The office is with you in your thoughts during this time of healing
• May you find comfort in knowing you are not alone
• I am deeply sorry for your loss

What Is a Good Sympathy Message?

You can draft a few simple words that show you are thinking of them and that their loved ones had impacted their lives in a positive way. An example of a good message can be, “I’m saddened by your loss and would like to offer you my deepest condolences. May the soul of your brother James rest in peace.”

Final Thoughts

Without a doubt, the above guide is quite helpful if you are looking to write a sympathy letter to an employee. However, it is also imperative to note that your unique nature and the relationship you have with your employee will determine what you will write.