“Empathy is really important. Only when our clever brain and our human heart work together in harmony can we achieve our full potential.” – Jane Goodale
Empathy is the most beautiful skill and trait that makes us human. We are blessed with this magic power that helps us understand the emotions of other people. Sometimes, I wonder how beautiful we are! It is divine to feel the pain of others, be happy in their joys and try to extend the desired support to them. Most of us express our empathy freely in our personal lives. We don’t shy away from showing the sensitivity of our hearts in our personal lives.
Seeing a teary-eyed person on the road stimulates us to enquire what happened and do whatever we can to soothe him or her. We often find ourselves showering kindness on strangers and this kindness of strangers often gets showered on us, too. When it comes to our professional lives however, we hide our empathy under the layers of authority. Why do we hide our empathy as employers? It may be because of one of the these reasons:
- You worry that if you let your sensitive side out your employees might start taking you lightly.
- You feel afraid that if you let your empathy drive you, you might not be able to make tough decisions for your company’s well-being.
- You worry that your empathy might lead to the formation of cordial relationships between you and your workforce, which might reduce your authority.
These are the major underlying or subconscious reasons why most of us keep our empathy hidden in our professional lives. We don’t realize that these worries and fears might be irrational and having an empathetic demeanor might do us more good than harm. Research conducted by Facebook shows that employees are strongly inclined towards empathetic leaders. More than 58% of employees said they would consider leaving their job if company leaders didn’t show empathy to staff needs.
This finding clearly highlights that suppressing your empathy and not expressing it towards your employees can do a lot of harm to your company. Quite the contrary – being an empathetic leader can help you earn employee loyalty and boost employee retention. There are many other benefits of expressing your empathy towards your employees.
- Boosts productivity
As employers, cultivating a productive workforce is one of your major business objectives. You devise innovative strategies to boost employee productivity in your workplace and use multiple key performance indicators to measure the impact of those strategies. Empathy, one of the most impactful strategies when it comes to boosting employee efficiency, is often disregarded.
Empathy works wonders in enhancing employee productivity. Wondering how empathy yields such results? The answer lies in our basic psychology. We naturally feel inclined towards people who understand us. This is because deep down we all have a strong desire to be understood.
When you express empathy, you fulfill this core need of your employees. Consequently, they develop a strong emotional tie with you. This further leads to a high level of employee retention and drives them to leave no stone unturned to deliver the best to your organization. Research conducted by Gallup shows that highly engaged business units experience a 17% increase in productivity.
- Fosters customer satisfaction
Your customers are the lifeblood of your company. Without them, you can’t survive in the treacherous world of business for a single day. Keeping your customers absolutely satisfied, happy and earning their loyalty are crucial for you to keep your business going. Many organizations find it challenging to enhance customer satisfaction. Sometimes they meticulously carve their products and services to perfection and yet customer satisfaction key performance indicators show that there is still room for massive improvement. Why is that so?
Customer interactions with our organization (either direct or indirect) play an equal role in their satisfaction with the company as the quality of our products and services. In a way, your employees directly impact customer satisfaction as they are the ones with whom your customers interact the most. If your employees are satisfied with your organization, they’ll serve your customers in the best way possible. Their satisfaction with your company will translate into customer satisfaction.
Your employees feel the most satisfied with your company when their basic need for empathy is met. It doesn’t matter if you offer the best salary package, the lack of empathy will make them dissatisfied and will ultimately negatively impact customer satisfaction. It is time for you to become empathetic towards your employees. Evolve into an empathetic leader and see customer satisfaction sky rocketing in your company.
- Promotes a greater sense of belonging
A sense of belonging is the need to feel accepted by a group and be a part of it. As human beings, a sense of belonging is an intrinsic need that we all have. We want to feel belonging not only in our personal, but professional lives as well. Organizations where employees feel a strong sense of belonging enjoy enormous merits. Research conducted by BetterUp has shown that fostering belonging leads to 50% reduction in employee turnover and 75% reduction in employee absenteeism.
Have these benefits motivated you to build a strong sense of belonging in your employees? If yes, then the ultimate strategy that you can use is expressing empathy toward your employees. When you show your employees that you understand their feelings, they feel valued and develop a strong sense of belonging. The moment you extend your empathy and support to your employees, you assure them that they are a valued asset of your company and are cared for.
So, leaders, work on your empathy. Learn to put yourself in the shoes of others and feel how they feel. but remember not to get overwhelmed by the emotions of others. If you are also overwhelmed, how will you support your employees? Be empathetic, understand others but don’t lose your stability. This is important as it is only by being a stable empath that you can help your employees.
- Cultivates high trust and better working relationships
Trust and better relationships both support employee engagement, loyalty and high morale. Aspire to make a strong bond of trust and cordial relationships bloom between you and your employees.
When your employees sense your empathy towards them, through your words, and by actively listening to them, there is a natural growing of trust and understanding. Through your actions you tell them that, whether you agree with them or not, you understand their point of view. This builds trust between you and your employees. After all, everyone wants people who understand their point of view, feelings and emotions.
- Magnifies employer brand
Your employer brand determines the quality of your hiring and thus, the future of your organization. Today, candidates are strongly attracted towards companies with a strong employer brand. They want the best from their professional lives. In order to attract the best talent to your company, it is crucial for you to build a strong employer brand and empathy can help with that.
Employer empathy matters a lot to employees. If you express empathy towards your employees, they’ll be happier and engage in positive word-of-mouth marketing for your brand. This will ensure that you attract the best talent and captivate the hearts of candidates.
Empathy is the ability to understand others’ emotions. As an employer, you are expected to be empathetic towards your employees. Workers prefer working for companies where they feel understood and valued. Quite the contrary, they feel disinterested in companies that can’t fulfill their basic need for empathy. Work on your empathy and learn the art of empathetic leadership. The above-mentioned benefits of empathetic leadership will motivate you to work on cultivating empathy. Wishing you all the best and immense success in your business endeavors.