Empathy is a must-have in every workspace as it can significantly contribute to business success. The times of social tensions, like the pandemic, proved how paramount it is to have an empathetic work culture. There are still several organizations where the higher authorities are demanding, provide neither support nor cooperation, and consider employees as just workers. Hence it is a matter to be taken with utmost seriousness.
Empathy in the workspace
The capacity to comprehend the situations of your people and relate to their thinking is a skill that one learns. Empathetic leadership means having the ability to understand the needs of others, and being aware of their feelings and thoughts. Someone concerned and caring for their subordinates can be called an empathic leader. Because it is so potent, a little bit usually goes a long way, yet future success is impossible without fostering this culture in the workplace.
The role of communication
In times of crisis, proper communication is frequently hindered. The primary cause is the stress that everyone endures in their daily life; when stress levels are high, the amygdala (a region of the brain linked to emotions) dominates the information that needs to be processed and throws the balance of logic off, with emotion playing a part. As a consequence, individuals find it hard to comprehend the information. It is due to this reason that the employer must be able to communicate with the employers effectively, providing clarity. Creating an empathic environment to work in helps build strong teams. It not only improves employee satisfaction, but also benefits both employers and employees.
Positive effects of a compassionate workplace
- Enhanced employee engagement: Success goes hand in hand with productivity, and productivity can be achieved only when employees sincerely invest or engage their time and effort in your company.
- Reduced burnouts: Leaders must be able to identify the individuals who suffer from exhaustion due to constant working, as continuing with burnouts results in many issues with health causing an opportunity for syndromes and mental health issues. When an effective plan of empathic culture is done, the issue of burnout plummets.
- Gender equity will be gained: All employees are given equal importance in all concerns and rises, irrespective of which gender they belong to.
- Better employee retention: When senior leaders empathize, employees always tend to stick on to the organization compelling them to be dedicated and determined for the company’s betterment.
- Increased innovation: Empathy supercharges creativity and innovation. Empathic leadership creates a more innovative, engaged, and inclusive company culture.
As stated already, maintaining communication between everyone in the organization during a crisis is quite challenging. People are triggered as intense personal emotions hit and numerous mixed media messages emerge. Running the show becomes highly challenging for an employer, but it must go on. By keeping the following in mind, the process could be made simpler.
- Be attentive: Start listening to the employers’ concerns (vocal and nonverbal cues) and try to be as accessible and friendly as possible. It facilitates an easy understanding of the problems and makes it possible to approach a solution. Regular communication will help to ease employees’ anxiety and uncertainty. How you respond is vital as it allows the employees to manage their emotions.
- Assemble your team: Convey the idea that you are all on the same team. It is crucial to let people connect, particularly for employers who have chosen remote employment. Ensure you keep them motivated, arrange weekly virtual team video calls during remote work, plan happy hours, and provide the opportunity to discuss and share values.
- Take action: Initiate honest and open conversations, which will create trust and provide an option to adapt to work from home, demonstrating the employer’s compassion.
- Mental health assistance: To achieve a better work-life balance, offer a variety of mental health platforms, including health tools. Giving enough recovery time, vacations, and time off will enhance the employee’s productivity.
- Foresee the crisis: Hold regular meetings with the team and key executives, and prepare accurate data for potential future issues. Sessions, especially one-on-ones, can guarantee that voices are heard. Once planning is done, it must be shared. Also, recognize the employees who have gone the extra mile for the company. Moreover, let them know whom to contact when there are concerns.
- Respect each individual: There will undoubtedly be conflicts and rude debates during the hours of a crisis. Thus, the organization must have clear rules and guidelines against disrespectful behavior in order to build a peaceful environment.
- Secure the feedback: Numerous ways to provide input must be implemented. For example, an anonymous complaint box, emails, surveys, and questionnaires not only to examine or analyze the employee but also those in important posts.
Empathy, although highlighted particularly in the context of social tensions, must be practiced as a daily habit in a workspace regardless of whether there is an issue or not. If empathy is manifested and appropriately used in a work culture, one can handle the concerns with lesser difficulty. We all possess the superpower of empathy which can improve communication, lessen conflict, and foster closer bonds between people. We hope this article facilitates your organization’s functioning during crises.