Thoughts and Reflections on better business relationships
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More and more global research is pointing to empathy as not only an important value but also a critical skill that helps leaders, teams, employees and companies grow.
One such piece of research is from Businessolver, a US based HR software specialist, who has conducted annual surveys over the last few years with U.S. employees, HR professionals, and CEOs to evaluate the state of empathy in American workplaces, and emphasises that without Empathy companies are losing their competitive edge and falling behind.
It shows that “91% of CEOs believe empathy is directly linked to a company's financial performance, while 93 percent of employees say they're more likely to stay with an empathetic employer. But, an increasing number of employees don't think their employer is empathetic, leaving the door open for lost talent at organizations that can't close the "empathy gap." In fact, 92 percent of CEOs say their organization is empathetic, but only 72 percent of employees agree (a 6-point decrease from previous years)”.
Whether the company is a startup or a Fortune 100 company, a lack of employee engagement concerns every business.
Another research company, Gallup, says that the average U.S. employee is not only unengaged at work, but half of U.S. employees are actively searching for a new job. according to Rae Shanahan, Chief Strategy Officer at Businessoler, the need for skilled and engaged talent can impact businesses’ bottom lines by more than $600 billion in lost productivity per year.
Encouraging and cultivating empathy within an organisation helps to engage individuals and teams therefore decreasing the need for employees to look somewhere else for a job.
The first ever Global Empathy Index published in the Harvard Business Review was created by UK based company, The Empathy Business. In their 2015 index they showed that the top 10 companies increased in value more than twice as much as the bottom 10 and generated 50% more earnings, showing that more empathic companies deliver more financial value.
Robert Mnookin, the Samuel Williston Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and past Chair of the Program on Negotiation, shows that to negotiate successfully, whether this is within or external to an organisation, empathy is vital as it involves effectively understanding your counterpart's perspective and expressing his/her viewpoint in a nonjudgmental manner. Empathy helps in replacing unproductive negotiating strategies with more rewarding ones.
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