Empathy, which is the ability to understand other people’s emotions and what they’re thinking or feeling, is a powerful tool for building relationships and creating meaningful connections at work. Empathy allows employees to foster a sense of unity with one another, which in turn fosters productivity and increases employee satisfaction.
However, despite the vital role empathy plans in creating effective employees and efficient workspaces, many of us struggle with the concept. Some of us have difficulty showing empathy; others simply forget to do to so. This is especially true at work, where busyness, distractions and frustration can act as “empathy blockers,” keeping us from connecting with others.
Although it’s easy to forget to be empathetic while working, lack of empathy can damaging to your colleagues and your business. In fact, 42% of consumers won’t do business with companies they don’t feel are empathetic. Similarly, employee retention is linked to empathetic ability—56% of employees said they would stay with a company whose management showed empathy.
- Traveling to new places to experience other perspectives
- Having deep conversations that go beyond small talk
- Learning a new skill that pushes you out of your comfort zone
- Getting feedback about how you can show empathy
- Identifying personal biases to better understand how they interfere with your ability to empathize
In addition to improving your ability to empathize, you can also show empathy in a few simple ways, including listening without interrupting, smiling when interacting with coworkers, using your coworkers’ names when addressing them and asking more questions.
To learn more about empathy and how to express it in the workplace, check out the full visual below.