Can you just imagine one in three employees leave an organization for a better and more understanding environment? This is the power of empathy. Empathy is a major incentive which combats the attrition rate. But then what exactly is empathy.
And this is only possible with empathy. Or why would otherwise someone align his or her growth with the growth of your organization? When you relate you're being with the place you are working, this is the true manifestation of empathy. Empathy is a very important part of leadership. When the employees feel that you do not really understand them, their performance dips drastically. So, in short, you cannot undermine the significance of empathy in an organizational setup.
Some interesting facts
- 77% of employees are willing to put in more hours at an empathetic workplace; whereas, 60% would even agree to a slashed salary if empathy is there.
- 92% of human resource managers contend that a compassionate workplace environment leads to employee retention.
- 80% of Millennials stated that they would quit their job in case they felt less empathy. 66% of the Baby Boomers shared the same sentiment.
Using empathy to improve workplace culture and environment
It is extremely important for employers to demonstrate empathy at the workplace as an empathetic attitude has a beneficial impact on overall business performance, motivating an employee to be more productive and fruitful for the organization. In fact, empathy in the workplace can make things better for all who work in the organization. Watch and listen to what your employees say. When the employees feel that they are being heard and their feelings are not being ignored, they work towards overall growth and success. It is very important to create a work-life balance because otherwise, the employees might get stressed out. Burn out is a huge problem these days. Nobody goes to the death bed with a feeling that they should have spent more hours at the office. So, a kind of harmony should be there so that employees feel valued and appreciated.
Problems which can crop up due to lack of empathy
- Nonempathetic employers fail to gain the trust of the workforce
- A feeling of disengagement and dissatisfaction crops up
- Performance misunderstanding
- Unhappy work environment
- Ceding of motivational behavior in employees
Now, the question is how to build empathy in the workplace.
1. Experience a regular day in the life of your team
Sometimes it is not easy for leaders to look beyond work and realize how much effort it requires on part of his / her team to perform. It is important to be ahead of time and think strategically, but this does not mean that you do not pay heed to the day to day grind.
In many cases, it has been seen that employers are disconnected from what is happening within your team- their attitude, level of morale, etc. Now if you wish to counter all of that, it is important to spend quality time with your team and realize what they are going through.
Understand their challenges and their roadblocks as this will only help you diminish their problems. When you know their frustrations as well as motivations, you know how to direct them towards superior performance.
2. Establishing an open communication system
Open communication is an integral element for building empathy. When you can discuss things freely with your team and they can get back to you about what they feel, understand that your organization is on the right track. It is important for people to speak up rather than stay quiet about things. When things are not hidden, frustration levels are kept at bay.
3. Get out of the normal environment in order to see things in a different light
Sometimes it is vital that leaders look at things with a different perspective. They usually get stuck with things. There is a need to step out and see how things are conducted out of your organizational setup.
You must spend time with other teams as well as leaders. In case your organization is at some remote locations which you barely go and see, visit the same to understand the challenges, which your employees have been dealing with. Spending time outside the normal environment can open up your eyes and you will see things in a different light.
4. Do away with your biases
We all have our own biases. At times we are not conscious of the biases which we have as do not know about them. In several cases, we react to things without even thinking logically.
Biases are manifested in us as a result of our upbringing as well as experiences. It is not possible to do away with them completely, so what you can do best is to be just aware of them. This way we will not include biases in our decision-making process. Avoid biases on the basis of race, gender, qualifications, appearance, and age. These biases actually meddle with our capacity to empathize.
For instance, you are aware that John never attended college, while you graduated from Oxford. Now, you will always have a bias that he does not know enough. You will disregard this experience and knowledge. So, now this bias will not allow you to empathize with John.
5. Always watch your steps
What empathy is for you can be something different for someone else. The habit of thinking you are right and you know how to care about employees always mess up the wholesome meaning of empathy. Empathy simply means, walking into someone’s shoes. But sometimes we just put on someone else’s shoes but does not walk. In this situation, we only get a perception of employees’ situation but not the inside of it. This is why always question your judgement before you take a step forward. It will help you to judge your own judgement which will give you another spectacle to analyze the whole situation. Consequently, worthy decisions will be made.