Each new generation brings something different to the table and tries hard to paint the social norms in their colors.
Nowadays, it’s millennials’ turn to make the world a better place and they truly managed to bring some extremely sensitive issues under the spotlight.
Let’s take the workplace as an example. What used to be a highly organized, cold, productive-oriented environment is now striving toward flexibility, collaboration, and empathy.
True, not all companies fall under these guidelines, but with more people who want a life-work balance, the business world has to adapt, otherwise you risk losing the most important resource to the competition.
However, even with more focus on values such as inclusion and flexibility, we still have a strong hustle culture that puts productivity and success above all else. According to the 2021 State of Workplace Empathy Study by Businessolver, 85% of employees believe empathy is highly undervalued by businesses. Yet, only one in four employees think that empathy in their organization is sufficient.
So what exactly does it mean to have an empathetic work culture and why does this matter when it comes to attracting new talent?
Empathy in the workplace: What does it mean?
Most human beings instinctively understand empathy — it’s the ability to sense the emotions and feelings of others. Yet, we are often told to forgo our emotions in professional settings.
While it’s true that there is a difference between the way we relate to family and friends and the way we relate to coworkers, we still need to understand each other and be empathetic in order to work and create together.
Empathy allows a recruiter to understand that a valuable candidate can underperform during a job interview because they are nervous.
On the same note, an empathetic manager can connect with their team at a deeper level since they can understand the nervousness before a big launch or the burnout during high-pressure times.
Plus, according to the Businessolver study, 98% of HR professionals think that empathy drives retention and keeps employees more motivated. Also, based on the reviews left by people on JobSage, companies that value inclusion, flexibility, growth, purpose, and more are among the most desirable on the market.
Overall, well-applied empathetic company culture is one of the factors that can tip the balance in your favor when trying to sign high-value talent. Today’s workers are looking for human connection and want to know that their input and efforts are valued.
Empathy and productivity: How do they mix?
People are more engaged and more creative when they like their work environment. Plus, a boost of positivity makes you more confident in your skills, which will be reflected in your results.
So one could argue that an empathetic work environment is beneficial for both the employees and the employer. So let’s have a look at how exactly these benefits can be reaped and turned into profits.
Empathic leaders encourage collaboration.
In today’s mixed work environment, companies need leaders who can bring everyone on the same page (regardless of background or political and cultural affinities).
Compassionate leaders can understand their people’s struggles and can adapt the work schedule and other resources to meet everyone’s needs (as much as possible).
This way, a company can benefit from having both remote and on-site workers without worrying too much about misalignments in schedule and errors in communication.
Plus, the emotional intelligence of an empathic leader allows them to easily handle any conflicts that may arise when people with different backgrounds gather together.
Also, people look up to managers who make an effort to understand their mental and emotional states. This creates an environment of friendship and collaboration, allowing for stronger bonds to form between team members.
Hence, a culture of empathy where the higher-ups lead by example creates a positive work environment and encourages talented workers to give their best. It’s also a way to ensure people won’t abandon ship at the first sign of trouble (empathy encourages loyalty).
The business world is abuzz with technical integration efforts and systems that allow better collaboration between departments and individual team members. However, just because we have the tools, it doesn’t mean people will be able to work together without some sort of encouragement.
We all have different communication styles and perceive the world based on deeply seated criteria. This is why every team needs an empathic leader who can create a positive and collaboration-oriented environment.
People who feel comfortable in their work setting are more interested in hearing other people out. Plus, it’s way easier to feel motivated about being part of the team when you feel heard and understood as an individual.
Positive work relationships
People who like working with each other will also support each other in times of need. Plus, it’s easier to open up about a difficult work issue toward a colleague you trust.
By promoting a culture of empathy, businesses help build powerful teams, where collaboration and support are norms. As a result, these teams will be more efficient since they will be able to work like a well-oiled machine.
Also, if employees feel seen and heard in the workplace, they will be able to manage stressful situations a lot better. This will have a positive impact on their mental and physical wellbeing which will also reflect in their work drive and interest for success.
Positive feelings lead to positive results
We need a culture of empathy in the corporate world in order to move forward. CEOs and managers need driven employees who are in the right state of mind to create, build, and analyze without having their judgment affected by anxiety and stress.
Also, employees want to feel appreciated and heard. Today’s worker is not satisfied with just financial gains and status – they also need meaning and personal development. And if they can’t get the right growth opportunities from your company, it is rather easy to go to the competition.
Employers are constantly looking for talented people who want to jump ship. And the only way to keep your people involved is to show them you care and they are part of your big brand development plans.