Most of us want to build more productive teams and for that, we focus all our energy and efforts on teaching our employees new technical skills. What we fail to realize is that their interpersonal skills need watering too. This is why employers should be concerned with how to empower employees at work.

Understanding other people’s emotions in the workplace is crucial for establishing good relationships with them. This positively affects the productivity level of the company when the employees are working as a team.

Did you know that one in three employees would leave their companies for one that offers a more compassionate environment?

You may not realize this but many people at work are self-conscious about discussing their feelings – and you can only change that by promoting a culture of honesty and openness where the emotional wellbeing of your employees is a priority.

Many business owners, executives, and managers wonder how to empower employees, hoping for someone to tell them that empathy can be taught as a management skill. On the bright side, empathy is a basic human emotion that no employee is devoid of. While it doesn’t take much work to build or reignite the emotion of empathy, it does require commitment and attention.

Here are five authentic ways to promote empathy at work.

1. Change the Way You Listen to Your Employees

When an employee comes to you with questions or concerns, how well do you listen to them? 

Most people don’t actually listen to their employees and coworkers. In a world where 30% of employees think their opinions don’t matter, you need to step up and tell them that they do!

Active listening requires effort and it needs to be consistent across all channels of communication. Whether people are contacting you via email or ticket, or trying to have a conversation in-person, they need you to pay full attention to them.

Your employees need to feel heard. A simple way to ensure this is by implementing an efficient ticketing system and using detailed surveys or questionnaires to figure out the issues they’re facing in the company.

Additionally, try to assure your employees that you’re always available to address their concerns. From Slack to emails and beyond, you should imply that you’re always open to questions and suggestions. Always advertise that you know their time is as precious as yours and you’re willing to solve their problems in a timely manner.

2. Walk in Your Employees’ Shoes

Empathy is all about truly understanding what the other person is going through. And so, the best way to promote empathy at work is by walking in your employees’ shoes.

You should listen to their concerns with an open mind. You might have little to no knowledge of how their daily duties and responsibilities look like when they’re in action. Being considerate is the key.

You might feel that you’ve got a full plate and you don’t have extra time to spare – and chances are, they probably feel the same way. Regardless of the department they work in, 30% of employees feel overworked, burnt out, and unmotivated.

If you feel someone at work is acting irritated and frustrated and it annoys you, remember the time when you had a rough day at work.

3. Quit the ‘First Come, First Served’ Approach 

You must always keep in mind that not all problems are created equal. You should know how to empower employees by prioritizing problems.

Quit the ‘first come, first served’ approach to solving problems because it’s never compassionate or personal.

For example, you have one employee with a complaint of occasionally lagging of a software program and another who’s struggling with a potential security breach. Who will you attend first?

The latter, of course!

Taking care of the most urgent matters first shows that you understand the complexity and extent of your employees’ problems.

4. Conduct Culture Training for Employees

Now of course, when you’re empathetic, you’re teaching your employees to be the same in a way. However, bringing a change in the workplace culture is not that simple.

You should consider conducting culture training for employees. These diverse training programs will help you build effective working relationships and promote empathy at work.

Culture training will help employees acknowledge and understand the many differences that exist among them due to unique cultures, values, and beliefs. It will also improve their communication skills and emotional intelligence, allowing them to understand the opinions, emotions, and motivations of their coworkers.

5. Promote Service-oriented Practices

To highlight your compassion for your team, you should promote service-oriented practices. These practices utilize empathetic traits to show employees the right way of treating their customers.

One of the easiest ways to do this is by practicing active listening, asking for feedback, and encouraging open and honest conversations. This will make it easier for you to identify any underlying issues and concerns of your employees and address them accordingly.

Promoting service-oriented practices will also give the impression that you prefer to have a collaborative relationship with your employees rather than a transactional one.

Organizations that emphasize the building of empathy skills in their employees set themselves up for exceptional incentives and long-term success. Now that you know how to empower employees, get ready to transform your organization’s culture!

Call on Greer Consulting Inc. to assist you with our labor relations and diversity management experience. We offer culture training for employees, striving to promote empathy at work and drive productivity. With us, you can take bonding with your employees to the next level!