The importance of empathy in workplace

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Workplaces today need to cultivate empathy in order to grow and move forward; but most importantly, managers and leaders should regard empathy as a primary quality for success.

When a person lacks empathy, chances are they won’t be a good leader, and the explanation is quite simple, as empathy refers to the ability to sense or understand other people’s emotions.

Empathy is what allows a workplace to feel safe for employees, as well as motivating and supportive to their development. 

And who wouldn’t appreciate an understanding manager or leader, having their hard work and skills recognized, or finding emotional support in the workplace? These, and many more things, are what empathy has to offer, so let’s dive in. 

empathy in the workplace

The state of empathy in the workplace

Let’s start from the beginning and try to understand how does empathy fit into the workplace and what the state of it currently is. As we have mentioned before, empathy has many roles in defining good and healthy workplace dynamics among employees in every level of the company, including management or leadership positions. 

Being able to understand and deal with other people’s emotions is key in life as a general rule. And given the fact that we spend a big deal of our lives in the workplace, it only makes sense that such reality would translate into our relationships with colleagues, leaders or business partners. 

As a matter of fact, a recent Businessolver study on the state of workplace empathy shows how important and meaningful empathy is for current and potential employees:

  • 93% of employees feel that their productivity improves as employers recognize their achievements and hard work.
  • 83% of Gen Z employees would prioritize n workplace and employer with a strong culture of empathy over a higher paid job. 
  • 83% of employees would consider leaving their current position for a similar role at a more empathetic organization.

A variety of other studies and papers suggest just about the same, empathy is in fact positively related to an improved job performance. Because showing empathetic behavior in the workplace helps improve overall human relationships and interactions, work teams are able to have a better communication and create better outcomes.

empathy in the wokplace

The benefits of an empathetic workplace

Cultivating empathy in the workplace has benefits beyond having more friendly relationships with your co-workers and managers. A strong culture of empathy can actually translate into many areas of the business. 

Working on empathy can translate outside the workplace. This is, when someone works on their empathetic abilities towards their fellow employees’, eventually the skill that is developed for understanding and being able to put one self in another person’s shoes can translate to better customer service.

Acknowledging clients’ or users’ complaints and opinions in an empathetic way could become a core competitive advantage and positive differentiation among competitors. 

Empathy boosts productivity and innovation. As we have seen before, research suggests how empathy helps improve employees’ performance. In a similar vane as the previous point, empathy can also help inspire new ideas and proactivity. As people look at a problem with different eyes it becomes a great skill for problem solving and coming up with  innovative solutions

managing diversity in the workplace

Empathy is the only way to lead a team effectively. Those with better empathetic skills will likely make better leaders. In fact, according to a research by MRG, empathy was regarded as the most significant predictor for good leadership. Empathy means paying attention, listening and being aware of the people around you while helping build a common vision.

empathy in the workplace

Create a company culture that enables empathy

If we are going to talk about empathy it is inevitable to also talk about engagement. As we have mentioned before, a great percentage of employees will be willing to leave their job for a place where empathy shines through more distinctively.

But what these numbers also mean, is that people do not feel engaged to their employers, company or job as a whole as a result of a lack of empathy. So boosting employee engagement is just as important as empathy training and leadership. 

The uniting power of sustainability

In DoGood we advocate for the importance of making small but meaningful changes in our everyday life in order to find purpose and a more healthy relationship with the people and planet around us. 

We also believe that working collectively can help us find that which alone may seem unattainable or useless. That is why we think the workplace is the perfect environment to find that collective eagerness to make a difference, both for the sustainability and purpose of the company and a more sustainable way of being for all employees. 

Through our technology we help companies establish ESG impact objectives for employees in regards to the sustainability strategy of the company. We are able to activate and track employees’ impact, creating engagement that translates into improved ESG metrics, reputational value and an overall positive impact for the environment and society.