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There are Many Reasons Why Empathy Matters in the Workplace

Back in the day, the words “empathy” and “workplace” were rarely muttered in the same sentence. There was no room for feelings or emotions once you arrived at work. You checked them at the door and went on with your day – picking them up again when you headed home.

Theoretically, it may have been plausible. But in reality? Not then – and not now.

Recognizing and promoting empathy is essential to building a healthy work environment. Empathetic leadership – the ability to understand and be aware of others’ needs and feelings – is sometimes overlooked as a key performance indicator, which is unfortunate.

  • According to the 2018 State of Workplace Empathy study, 96 percent of employees feel it’s important for coworkers to demonstrate empathy. But at the same time, 92 percent believe that this quality is undervalued at their company.
  • Research from the Center for Creative Leadership notes that today’s successful leaders must be more “person-focused.” The study goes on to say that empathy in the workplace is positively related to job performance.
  • Why Empathy is Important

    As employees strive to act professionally, they may keep their emotions at bay. But unless they bring their full, authentic self to work, they’re less likely to perform at their best – or be happy with themselves or their performance.

  • Improving company culture starts with improving interpersonal relationships. Employees need to feel a sense of belonging – a connection to their workplace and their team. This rests on treating one another with empathy.
  • Empathy is a building block to trust. Foster trust by regularly asking employees how they’re doing. And when sudden or significant organizational change occurs, kick it up a notch. Make sure leaders devote even more time to their team members to incite greater empathy. This, in turn, will help build team productivity.
  • A recent Harvard Business Review study concludes that empathetic companies outperform their less empathic counterparts by 20 percent. When people feel understood, they are more aware of and receptive to the concerns of others. Results include better collaboration and stronger teamwork.
  • How Can You Build Workplace Empathy?

    Creating an empathetic workplace is up to everyone in an organization, from the top down.

  • Make sure everyone feels heard. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through active listening. Build this into your organization-wide communications plan.
  • Managers and senior leadership may need the most guidance. This may be because their level of responsibility leads to added stress. Or, they may still perceive empathy as taboo in business. Support leaders who sincerely care about their employees and do whatever possible to change conflicting mindsets.

  • It’s not always easy to grow your company for success. At PrideStaff Modesto, it’s our goal to help deliver the business results that matter most to you, circa 2021. For more tips on developing an empathetic workplace or staffing, employee, and management development formula targeted exclusively to you, contact us today to talk further.

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