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How empathy creates a more productive workforce

By Damien Walsh - March 01, 2021

There are human companies and profit-driven companies. 

The pandemic has brought to light those who understand people and want to make a positive difference in the world. 

And those who care about money, little else. 

Which side of the fence are you on? 

The Washington Post reported on empathy in the workplace and how it drives rewards. 

Empathy shows people they are heard and appreciated; boosting engagement, morale, retention and productivity. 

According to the report: 

  • 77% of workers would be willing to work more hours for a more empathetic workplace; meanwhile, 60% would actually accept a slashed salary for the same. 
  • 92% of HR professionals note that a compassionate workplace is a major factor for employee retention. 
  • 80% of millennials noted they would leave their current job if their office became less empathetic. 66% of Baby Boomers also shared this sentiment. 

Being empathetic in the workplace provides meaningful, concrete returns.  

Connecting with co-workers helps sustain thriving companies that are built for the long term. 

Which is why I'm so excited to tell you all about this productivity hack—being empathetic. 

Honestly, I wasn't surprised to learn that embracing empathy—either as an individual or as a company—actually boosts productivity.  

Workplaces that focus on fostering empathetic work cultures are more productive. 

Here’s how to bring more empathy into your workplace: 

1. Talk about it 

Many managers consider task-orienting skills to be more important to control the performance of their team members. 

But research shows that understanding, caring, and developing others is just as important, if not more important, in today’s workforce. 

Time and attention fosters empathy. 

This in turn enhances performance and improves effectiveness.  


2. Learn to listen 

Listening goes well beyond being quiet and giving someone your full attention. 

When a manager is a good listener, people feel respected, and trust can grow. 

Team leaders should focus more on understanding the meaning behind what others are saying. 

A great way to do this is to pick up non-verbal cues such as tone, facial expressions and gestures. 

Listening, in every form, should be a full-time job for any leader. 


3. Cultivate compassion  

Compassion doesn’t follow a give-and-take approach. 

In all its essence, compassion is “empathy in action”. 

A few ways to demonstrate this include offering work flexibility and reassurance around job security.

All these actions show you understand and care. 

For someone who’s seen the benefits of compassion at work, I couldn’t agree more. 


4. Adapt to the changing environment 

The ability to be empathetic and collaborate across boundaries is needed now more than ever. 

With remote working and cross-border teams becoming the new normal... 

Effective managers and leaders need to acknowledge this. 

And adapt to these changes to ensure they continue their teams effectively. 

Something as small as regular check-ins, opportunities to socialise and making yourself available could make a world of a difference to your team... 

And when done effectively, can pave the way to more productive relationships. 


Making empathy work. Literally. 

The importance of empathy in business cannot be overstated.  

In fact, one common thread between the best places to work is a culture of compassion and understanding. 

On the surface, getting more invested in your co-workers may seem fairly straightforward 

Unfortunately, many aspects of empathy in the workplace are either overlooked or misunderstood.  

I’m thankful many of the global organisations I work with have put processes in place to help their employees cope with what’s happening in the world. 

They’ve reached out to us to put together a wellness programme that supports them on everything from looking after their employees’ mental health to adopting better habits.  

If you’d like to see how we can help you and your organisation, get in touch. 

After all, as Oprah Winfrey once said: 

“Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives.” 

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