How Does Your Organization Define Empathy?

by | 2 minute read

With the economy nearing full employment, workers are feeling bolder about putting their resume on the street to see if they can find a better job. What exactly constitutes a better job and what can you, as a leader or hiring manager, do to retain existing talent and recruit new talent? The 2017 Workplace Empathy Monitor from BusinessSolver contains a few clues.

The study encompasses the opinions of over 1,110 employees, 150 CEOs and 100 HR professionals who work in a variety of industries. The goal of the research, now in its second year, aims to identify the causes of disengagement. Specifically, the research focuses on empathy as a driver of engagement.

Employees want to work for empathetic organizations, but fewer than half of workers say their company has that quality. An empathetic organization can win the respect and loyalty of its employees. The BusinessSolver research finds that over 90% of all workers will stay with an empathetic employer. And, over 75% of all workers will switch jobs, if pay is equal, to work for an empathetic employer.

So, what constitutes empathy in the eyes of an employee? For starters, employees are looking for flexible work hours and location. The benefits package is also important, more so for baby boomers (71%) than Gen Xers (66%) and millennials (63%). Employees also want to see support for mental or physical health issues they are struggling with.

Let’s face it. Empathy doesn’t come naturally to many people. CEOs in particular may find it difficult to show empathy when they are driven to keep the company growing. Some CEOs may also be confusing the corporate social responsibility program with empathy. At least 46% of CEOs feel their participation in these programs equates to being empathetic. Not so, say employees. Only 34% feel social responsibility is a core indicator of corporate empathy.

To keep employees happy, CEOs and HR pros would do well to remember that charity and empathy begin at home. They may want to focus on programs that directly and personally benefit employees before they reach out to the wider world with their social responsibility efforts.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.