Empathy is not the same as sympathy. Empathy is about understanding others’ viewpoints. Today, more organizations recognize the importance of empathy. It’s a give and take. All stakeholders are encouraged to make an effort to show understanding & compassion. All stakeholders are interested in promoting a positive working environment.
Empathy organically increases employee engagement and value-added results overall. Here are five ways empathy encourages engagement in the workplace.
1. Empathy Builds Trust
First, empathy promotes trust in the workplace. Trust is critical in bringing the organization’s vision to fruition. There are strategies, such as the COACH approach, that encourage building those meaningful relationships.
This insightful strategy can be found in Elizabeth Mills’ Women On Business article, “The COACH Approach-How to Build Meaningful Relationships at Work and Home.” Individuals yearn to feel respected. They need to feel appreciated for their contributions.
Trust works both ways. Of course, it’s important for employers to build trust with their employees. This encourages employees to trust the organization. In that same fashion, it’s important for employers to trust their employees to make good choices and show stellar work. The results are certain to be positive and fruitful.
Trust Can Lead to 3 Additional Values:
- Honesty: No one appreciates games, especially in business. An honest vision. Honest feedback. People thrive on purpose and also need to believe in their leadership’s mission.
- Integrity: Integrity is doing the right thing regardless if anyone knows it or not. It’s also a part of intrinsic motivation. That need to be the best version of yourself with little to no recognition from another soul. Imagine a world where integrity would be held as one of the most valuable. Now, apply this concept to your organization.
- Change Agents: Change is critical and constant in the workplace. When employees trust their leadership and the organization’s vision, they are more open to change. Businesses must evolve with the market to be successful. We all must be change agents to add the most value.
2. Empathy Promotes Ownership
Ownership can be looked at in two ways — literally and figuratively. In reality, you don’t have to own shares of a company to possess an ownership mentality. As empathy and compassion are encouraged throughout an organization, everyone involved feels like an “owner”.
Individuals feel empowered and responsible for carrying out the business’ initiatives. The atmosphere no longer “feels” like just a job. The work environment “feels” like a second home. Those “feels” stem from empathy.
3. Empathy Encourages Longevity
Training for new employees could cost a company upwards of hundreds to thousands of dollars. While hiring for business growth is positive, hiring for frequent turnover is not.
Individuals need to feel like their voices are being heard; and therefore, their emotional needs are being met. Then, individuals feel like a valued asset within their organization. Also, it encourages longevity and discourages unnecessary turnover.
Empathy has the power to promote a family-like atmosphere without the dysfunctional family dynamic. Instead, it is an environment with healthy communication and common values.
The more comfortable an individual feels in their position, the more likely they are to stick around for the possibilities. That staying power translates to climbing the company ladder or growth within that position title.
4. Empathy Produces Results
Empathy produces the desired results. For example, when a business values their employees, their team members likely convey those same values with the stakeholders they come in contact.
According to the Forbes article, “Understanding Empathy: How EQ Can Improve Your Career Impact,” author Chris Watkins states that empathy-at its core-is about being able to see the world from another’s perspective. Without that ability, teams break down.
Overall, what business would not want to increase client satisfaction, improve productivity, and encourage greater quality? Thus, the correlation to this equation — the greater the results, the more profitable the business. Any for-profit or non-profit company needs positive results to stay relevant and to carry out their vision.
5. Empathy Inspires Innovation
Lastly, innovation is more than a department within an organization. It’s certainly more than a designated team tasked with generating new ideas or methods.
Creativity can come from anyone in the business. Innovation is also about promoting creativity, greater efficiency, and thinking outside of the box. Plus, individuals are more likely to feel safe taking risks. They are also more confident when suggesting new ideas or methods.
How Does Empathy Encourage Engagement?
As a wrap-up, individuals have a need to feel and show empathy no matter their position. Empathy encourages engagement in the workplace in many ways. For example, the five ways discussed in this article are trust, ownership, longevity, results, and innovation.
Empathy encourages engagement which leads to greater efficiency, and what business would ever discourage that?