EMPATHETIC MANAGEMENT IS THE NEW REALITY
The 21st century leaders / management have had to add a new skill to their existing skill set –empathy. Empathy is no longer a soft skill that needs to be honed by the staff in human resources only. Study after study conducted by research organisations has revealed that the key to employee retention and engagement is empathy displayed by all members of its engagement. So if you as an employer / manager etc wish to retain and build a team of loyal, hardworking, smart diverse people, it’s time to hone this skill as well. With empathy being a must – have skill, we have compiled some strategic ways that empathy can be honed in leaders.
Create a culture of inclusivity and openness. Whether employees are working from home or in a hybrid model, ensure that everyone feels included in all aspects that concern them. Keep all employees abreast of all situations / developments be it in the form of meetings, virtual hangouts that can remain on all day (with people joining or exiting as and when they wish to) using a variety of video call apps or newsletters.
Be flexible in your approach in various scenarios. These can include giving time off to deal with domestic situations, working from home full time or part time, letting people take half days if there are pressing engagements that need to be addressed or they are not feeling well, and so on. Being rigid in the office on certain issues does not pay off. It will lead to disgruntled employees and a reason to exit in search of greener pastures. Be empathetic and demonstrate flexibility as much as possible.
Create a culture of civility and respect. Being rude, curt, abusive, hurtful, upset, and dismissive in office whether, with a junior, a peer, or a senior is definitely a no – no. Employees learn from their seniors so all managers / supervisors / leaders need to introspect and act with care on a daily basis. These include vetting emails for tone and tenor, allowing everyone to have their say during meetings / video calls, patient and active listening, dealing & communicating with respect and professionalism.
Realisation that all employees are human beings. This point has been reiterated in the past in the forum that when employers / management realise that they work with human beings with different emotions etc, empathy is already in play. It’s vital for management to be interested in the personal lives of all employees to a certain extent, to understand, appreciate and relate to the backgrounds / situations of each employee. This will help in showing empathy in difficult and personal scenarios that may arise in the life / home or family of an employee.
The road to a happy workforce starts with management and empathy. The earlier it is ingrained and part of the company culture, the better it is for organisations to recognised as "great places to work ".