Only 49% of employees rate their organizations as empathetic

Dive Brief:

  • Businessolver, an SaaS-based benefits administration firm, released a new survey showing that just 49% of employees polled described their organization as empathetic. The Workplace Empathy Monitor also found that 98% of HR professionals and 92% of employees surveyed said empathetic employers drive retention. Businessolver polled 2,000 U.S. employees, HR professionals and CEOs.
  • The survey also found that nearly 80% of employees would work more hours and 60% would take a pay cut to work for a more empathetic employer. Another 85% think U.S. businesses undervalue empathy, 5% more than in 2016.
  • Dr. Adam Waytz, a management and organizations professor at the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, said in the release that there exists an "empathy gap" that employers must close. But managers often believe empathy is hard to express or that they shouldn't express it.

Dive Insight:

There's been a push for upskilling in the workplace — and soft skills are certainly counted among the most needed skills in today's economy. Clear communication skills, problem solving and respectfulness to other employees all are important soft skills that play directly into empathetic management.

There are numerous ways an employer can exhibit empathy, despite perceived difficulty. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg exemplified it by extending her company's bereavement leave after experiencing a sudden personal loss of her own. Sandberg’s husband, Dave Goldberg, died unexpectedly two years ago while the two were vacationing. 

Openly creating a workplace that thanks employees for their work and honors their accomplishments is another way to bake empathy into the workings of the company. Build a culture in which mutual respect, two-way communication, employee input and encouragement are essential. Those are just some ways to help close the "empathy gap." 

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Filed Under: HR Management