4 ways that empathetic employees can help your company
In a work culture that’s getting more and more automated, algorithm-ed, or outsourced, empathy is a unique value add to most companies. Don’t mistake empathy for simply “caring too much” - empathy is the ability to share another person’s feelings or experiences and can be a critical strength in leadership, people management, and problem solving.
Talent teams and hiring managers can be so fixated on getting the right qualifications and skill sets into a company. But should your company consider interviewing candidates who have higher levels of empathy? I think so. And here’s why:
Empathetic employees launch processes thoughtfully.
You can develop all the processes, protocols, and systems that you want - but if you aren’t considering how changes may impact your employees, you’re going to have a hell of a time getting folks bought into your new ways of working. Empathetic employees tend to anticipate the feelings of others, and factor people in when focused on process or system improvements.
Empathetic employees can be great leaders.
Leaders make hard decisions that can impact a lot of people. They need to build strong relationships, embody a company’s values, and work with integrity. These are hard things to do if you don’t have a knack for being able to consider the feelings of people around. By being more empathetic with colleagues, managers, and direct reports, leaders can build better bonds and have a better working culture with their team.
Empathetic employees deliver tough feedback with compassion. Firing someone. Laying someone off. Delivering bad news. Giving a poor performance review. There are some things managers hope they never have to do - but it happens. Empathetic managers know how to hold space for the feelings of the person they’re speaking to. They check in with their team. They ask “how are you” (and they usually want to know!) They’re thinking about how people may be experiencing what they are telling them, and it makes for a better conversation, even if the content is difficult.
Empathetic employees contribute to positive work cultures. Empathetic employees understand the value of people! They don’t think of them as a means to a larger bottom line. They can sense when their teammates are down and may need some words of encouragement. They have a tendency to acknowledge and appreciate their teammates more. They lead culture at a company by asking themselves “What would make me and my team happier and more productive here?” Increase the level of empathy at your company and you’ll end up with a more positive and welcoming culture.
What’s empathy brought to your workplace? Sound off below.