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How can HR be more humane?

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The post pandemic workplace environment is reflecting the need for wellbeing and empathy. HR is well placed to encourage others to be more compassionate.

14th Mar 2022
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Now, more than ever, increased empathy will revolutionise the lives and wellbeing of minorities in the workplace.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to many significant changes within the culture of the corporate world. In the Spring of 2021, 43% of UK adults were working from home, signifying a permanent shift away from the ‘office focused culture’.  

Notable resultant changes include: more women in the workforce; greater work environment flexibility; increased diversity and accessibility within companies; and perhaps most importantly, an increased focus on employee wellbeing and mental health. 

As it has taken a global pandemic to facilitate such a shift in priorities, one must question the need for these trends to become permanent. 

Since the turn of the millennium, studies have shown that empathy has been in decline

Empathy is the key

Defined as the ability to share the emotional state of another person and possessing the desire to help other people in distress, empathy means different things to different groups. Overwhelmingly, it is, and should be, a positive human trait linked to overall wellbeing.

Since the turn of the millennium, studies have shown that empathy has been in decline. There are a number of theories as to why this is the case. Many sight the increased use of technology as a key factor.

It is surely no coincidence that the lack of face-to-face interaction throughout the pandemic has had a negative impact on many. It is, therefore, of significant benefit to embrace increased empathy into the workplace, providing tangible personal and economic benefits on every level.

In my role as CEO of Pride 365, I have witnessed an increased desire, across many different business models, for executives, directors, managers and entrepreneurs to possess and display empathetic leadership qualities.

The potential benefits include increased productivity, the facilitation of collaboration, boosting organisational growth, attracting the brightest and best, and unlocking the immense potential of a truly diverse workforce.

Benefits of a diverse workforce

It should be no surprise that diverse companies consistently out-perform homogenous ones across a wide range of economic measures.

Workplace comfort and safety for ethnic, sexual and gender minorities must be an integral part of every business, at every level. It is also vital to tackle any lack of equity and equality caused by unconscious bias.

People work harder when they witness their work and actions positively impacting the lives of others

Increased empathy in the workplace will personally benefit the members of these groups, but equally make the most impact on workplace productivity and financial outcome. 

Incorporating ‘active empathy training’ into the workplace has three major benefits:

  1.  An exponential increase in productivity is first and foremost. People work harder when they witness their work and actions positively impacting the lives of others. 
     
  2.  Teamwork. The emotional transparency of colleagues bypasses the majority of instances of conflict and allows for a more smooth-running work environment.
     
  3.  A diverse, inclusive workforce. Company success is directly linked to the level of authentic consumer representation. 

Bringing compassion, empathy and fostering benevolence within corporate spaces is increasingly necessary for success as we enter the new employment landscape.

Interested in this topic? Read Will 2022 be a new dawn for employee wellbeing?

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