29 Jun, 2016, 08:30 ET
DES MOINES, Iowa, June 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In a unique report examining empathy in the workplace, Businessolver, a leader in cloud-based benefits administration technology, identified a wide gap that exists between CEOs and employees in how best to inspire workforces and keep them engaged, productive and proud. In one major finding, the study found that while 60% of CEOs view their organization as empathetic, only one-in-four employees does.
The first Businessolver Workplace Empathy Monitor, which it expects to be an annual report, also found that nearly one-third of employees (31%) think companies only care about profits and don't care as much about employees.
"The welcome news is that all audiences agree that empathy in the workplace is important," said Jon Shanahan, Businessolver CEO. "But employers have their work cut out for them to align leadership and their workforces to embrace understanding and action."
Shanahan believes HR practitioners are best positioned to help their employer further the ability to identify with another's feelings. The Businessolver research offers a blueprint to follow in identifying the 'do' and 'say' elements that foster empathy. Properly applied, empathy can unlock enterprise value from human capital in areas that include talent acquisition, retention and engagement.
A Blueprint for 'Do' and 'Say'
The Workplace Empathy Monitor report, released today at Businessolver's Vision 20/16 Tour event in Chicago, identifies several areas that can serve as catalysts for greater workplace empathy. According to the data, a wide majority of CEOs, HR professionals and employees agree these key behaviors are important:
- Treating employees well (83%).
- Listening to customer needs and feedback (80%).
- Maintaining ethical business practices (78%).
- Caring about employees' mental health (78%) and physical health (77%).
In addition to these more overarching empathetic business practices, the report also identifies ways that CEOs, HR leaders and employees agree colleagues can display empathy in daily communication:
- Verbally acknowledging that you are listening (76%).
- Maintaining eye contact (72%).
- Showing emotion (70%).
- Asking questions (62%).
- Making appropriate physical contact (62%).
"Businessolver's daily interactions with human resource leaders clearly point to the need for a new way to engage employees beyond traditional financial and benefits-based incentives," said Rae Shanahan, Businessolver Chief Strategy Officer. "Practitioners are searching for how to unify their corporate cultures to their corporate missions, in a way that inspires loyalty and trust. Our research shows that empathy is shaping up as the missing ingredient."
The Enterprise Value of Empathy
The Workplace Empathy Monitor report also finds that in addition to building engagement and loyalty, embedding empathy in workplace operations and communications can unlock financial results:
- Nearly half of employees would be willing to work longer hours for an empathetic employer.
- One in three employees would switch companies for equal pay if the other employer was more empathetic.
- Twenty percent of employees would switch companies for less pay if the other employer was more empathetic.
Businessolver executives will jointly present the study's full findings today with Adam Waytz, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Management and Organizations at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.
"Various research programs have begun to show that empathy is an integral component to the workplace and gravely impacts a company's bottom line," said Dr. Waytz. "The findings in this study support the existing research and provide affirmation that people care deeply about empathy in the workplace."
Find the full Workplace Empathy Monitor report online at businessolver.com/Empathy.
Follow and contribute to the social conversation at #EmpathyAtWork.
Since 1998, Businessolver has delivered market-changing benefits administration technology supported by an intrinsic responsiveness to client needs. It creates client programs that maximize benefit program investment, minimize risk exposure, and engage employees with easy-to-use solutions and communication tools to assist them in making wise and cost-efficient benefit selections. Founded and developed in 1998 by HR professionals, Businessolver's unwavering service-oriented culture and secure SaaS platform provides measurable success in its mission to provide complete client delight.
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