Empathy in 2021 and beyond: Ways it Can Increase Employee Satisfaction

Kevin Nguyen
November 10, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in personal and professional challenges, and the ability to have honest conversations in the workplace is crucial now more than ever. A possible contributor to this year’s so-called “Great Resignation” is the lack of empathy in the workplace. 

Ernst & Young’s 2021 Empathy in Business Survey showed more than 50% of employees quit a previous job because their boss wasn’t empathetic to their struggles at work or in their personal lives. On the other hand, nearly 90% of workers who were queried believe empathetic leadership creates loyalty, and 85% say that it increases productivity.

According to Steve Payne, EY Americas Vice Chair – Consulting, their research finds that empathy is not only a nice-to-have but the glue and accelerant for business transformation in the next era of business. Empathy’s ability to create a culture of trust and innovation is unmatched, and this previously overlooked trait must be at the forefront of businesses across all industries.

The research shows that Empathy improves employee satisfaction and decreases turnover rates, but there are tangible business benefits to prioritizing empathy in the workplace too. The research shows increase in the following:

  • Efficiency (87%)
  • Creativity (87%)
  • Innovation (86%)
  • Company revenue (81%)

Based on the research, here are the top initiatives that would help employees feel more comfortable having open discussions with a boss include:

  • Having regularly scheduled one-on-ones 
  • Providing opportunities to give anonymous feedback 
  • Participating in team-building exercises
  • Receiving frequent reminders that they’re in a safe space to have open discussions
  • Participating in training/communication workshops about having open discussions

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