Organizational health and wellbeing.
We spend the majority of our time at work. Cultures where people are seen, heard and feel valued are healthier places for employees to thrive, making better decisions for each other and for their customers.
As humans, we are hardwired to connect with each other. Dr. David Pitonyak argues that when we feel connected we live longer and recover from sick days quicker. Workplace empathy can help organizations to achieve all of this, as it helps us to listen and understand the impact we have on each other.
Employees who feel their voices are heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.
The benefits of empathy.
When teams have strong human connections in their daily working lives they experience:
drop in turnover risk
drop in turnover risk
reduction in sick days
Building an inclusive culture.
USA businesses spend nearly 8 billion dollars each year on diversity and inclusion training that misses the mark – because it neglects our need to feel included. When we feel left out, it hurts. A foundation of an inclusive culture is belonging, and to achieve a true sense of belonging we all need to master a Workplace Empathy ‘WE mindset’ if we are to understand the impact that we have on each other. A big part of the WE mindset is about having a curiosity to understand your own and other people’s experience of the world, and using that understanding to guide your actions at work.
Bob Champion, CEO of engineering company Barry Wehmiller, argues that your supervisor is more important to your health than your primary care doctor. At HMRC I’ve developed and delivered a training program at all levels of the organization, which has led people to increase their Workplace Empathy by developing a ‘WE mindset’. For HMRC, this has been a key foundation to:
- Building a more inclusive culture
- Increasing productivity and wellbeing
- Improving employee experience
- Developing a safe environment to challenge
- Increasing self awareness in leadership
The WE Mindset and its benefits are now spreading beyond the UK Tax Office to other departments across the UK government, all through the delivery of the ME WE program.
A shift in leadership style.
If enough people start including the WE mindset in how they lead, together we can transform our workplace cultures.
By leading from a place of self-awareness, we’re able to understand when to shift away from positional authority – and we start to feel comfortable giving up power in order to empower others. This can mean a shift from being seen as the expert, to being someone who can ask others for help.
For some leaders, this can feel a really uncomfortable place to be. But when put into practice, teams become more courageous and decisions start to be made at the right level. This is because people feel emotionally safe enough to speak up, which increases accountability.