Companies have been known to invest massive sums of capital into engaging their employees and making them feel like part of the organization. In this employee engagement activities blog, we’ll go through some of the rudiments of this organizational tool and how to get it right going into 2021.
In its simplest sense, employee engagement activities meaning is a function of the relationship that exists between a company and its employees. An employee who is properly engaged has been integrated into the organization and is enthusiastic about his or her work. This way the employee is able to take positive action and work to ensure that the organization’s interests and objectives are assured.
In an article for Forbes Magazine, author Kevin Kruse explained employee engagement as the emotional commitment that an employee has to an organization and its objectives. Essentially, employee engagement is the level of passion and enthusiasm that a worker has about his or her job. Engaged employees see the job as much more than an opportunity to earn a sizable income and feed their families; they feel an eagerness towards their jobs that makes them interested in it.
As the passion grows, the individual outcome of their involvement in company activities becomes even more positive as well.
An engaged employee is concerned about the outcome of the company and its performances, and they’re interested in providing efforts that lead to sustainable success. The work effort of every employee is bound by physical, emotional, and mental inputs; engagement leads to satisfaction and commitment, both of which will help to galvanize these work aspects to lead to considerable success
In addition to that, an engaged employee is more enthusiastic about going the extra mile for the company; sometimes, even without being asked or coerced into doing so. They take up roles and establish lines of responsibility although there’s still a need to feel valued and appreciated by the company as well.
A good manager or boss is able to find employees who sow encouraging levels of commitment, and they do all they can to make them involved. The company is responsible for bolstering employee engagement, thus ensuring that employees’ morale never goes down.
Why do you need an employee engagement program at your workplace?
The entire point of employee engagement activities is to ensure that companies are able to attract and retain the talent they need to help them achieve their goals.
Currently, we live in a work climate where over 25 percent of employees are at a high risk of turnover. In addition, a third of those employees that stand the risk of falling victim to massive turnover don’t particularly deserve it- they’re motivated and highly talented workers who will be able to fill in their positions and perform well above expectations.
Simply put, they know that they can get better work conditions at other firms, and they’re more than happy to give their chances a go. So, the problem of turnover isn’t particularly because these people aren’t qualified- as a matter of fact, they’re so qualified that they see their current employment as being “beneath them.”
According to research conducted by popular human resource and job searching platform Glassdoor back in 2016, up to 53 percent of employees are confident that they will be able to find a comparable position to their current jobs within half a year if they quit immediately. The rise in their confidence isn’t a bad thing, of course; it just means that employees are more than secure in their capabilities.
However, it does pose a challenge for the company; managers know that if their employees aren’t given a compelling enough reason to continue working with them, it really only is a matter of time before they jump ship and look for greener pastures.
As a company executive or a supervisor, you might believe that this doesn’t really affect you because your company will be standing regardless of who works there.
However, one of your responsibilities is to ensure that you get the best people to help your company achieve its objectives. If you fail at that because your employees don’t feel engaged enough, it’s only a matter of time before you have to settle for workers who are less than ideal, and your company will begin to suffer for it eventually.
The competition for top talent is currently fierce; regardless of the industry you operate in, you know this is true. You also know that having to train new hires to meet up to the standards you want (or are used to) is both time- and cost-intensive.
To help mitigate all of this, you could simply get employees that are the best in their class and ensure that they stay engaged.
20 Employee engagement activities for 2021
Create an exciting onboarding experience
When an employee comes into your office, their perceptions begin to form from the first day. so, employee engagement should be done from then on. To help make their onboarding better, try the following:
Help them to feel welcome
Be clear with communications
Provide them with enough resources
Handle introductions and ensure that existing company members are welcome
Plan a few fun activities for the new hires
Improve the work environment
Employees get tired of the normal 9-5 routine that gets played out every day. So, throw in some activities to help them snap out of that boredom. You can move meetings to a different location, and help to optimize the work environment. Subtle new changes go a long way.
Celebrate the workers
It’s one thing to celebrate the work that people do, and it’s another thing to celebrate them. Make sure that you take time to appreciate them for more than the work they do. Birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and other holidays can be a great opportunity to show them that you value them for who they are; not just what they do for you.
Assess their strengths
You can also help employees to learn about themselves with strengths assessments. Through these, they understand what they’re good at, and can improve on the areas where they lag a little bit. Engaging and optimizing them becomes easy this way.
As a boss or supervisor, you should refrain from bossing your employees around. They need counsel, nurturing, and coaching to be at their best.
Research from Quantum Workplace shows that manager coaching can improve employee engagement significantly, as companies with employees that get frequent coaching can bolster their business results by as much as 21 percent.
Improve their job understanding
You should ensure that every employee is clear on their job descriptions. Make them write down what they believe their responsibilities are, and ensure that they’re a match with your expectations. Tis way, they have clear pictures of their roles, and can create their path to achieving their objectives.
Seek their input
Every employee has unique and special strengths. When you ask them for feedback and their input, you’re allowing them to put these strengths on display and sharpen them. From finding areas to optimize costs to helping with drafting proposals, keep your employees involved in some management tasks.
Also, make sure to follow up on them. This way, they see their counsel in action and know that their voices are being heard. In the world of employee engagement activities that work, this is a very important one.
Employees work best when they feel they’re most authentic. Discover what drives each person, and use that motivation to bring out the best in your them. Assuming that everyone is identical is a fundamental failure of engagement.
Manage the load
Provide a work schedule that keeps employees free to spend time with their loved ones. Overworking leads to tiredness, and you need to let these workers know that you respect their private time too.
Make time for fun
Employee engagement activities don’t have to be work as well.
Not every day should be a workday! Set out time to socialize and bond; this is one of the most important ways to increase employee engagement, as it builds relationships, improves communication, and enhances job satisfaction.
Off-sites, company holiday parties, and much more should be a part of your yearly calendar.
Teach new hires about the company culture
Assign new hires someone who will take them through the company culture. This improves their on-boarding process and ensures that they feel more like a part of the team much faster.
When leaders or employees make mistakes, capitalize on these periods to make them stronger. Encourage them to be vulnerable, and encourage co-workers to rally around them and build them. Ignoring failures or passing the blame will be a problem that affected members might not recover from.
Work hours and locations don’t necessarily be rigid. Thanks to advancements in technology, remote work is now easy. So, if you know the people you hired are god enough, trust them to get the job done even if they’re not physically present.
Going away parties
If an employee is leaving the company, celebrate them for what they’ve done. Co-workers will be able to say goodbye, and the relationship between everyone remains intact this way. It also shows the remaining workers that they’re valued.
If your company has a cause that it’s passionate about, then you can encourage your workers to volunteer. Employee engagement fun activities in the office can be branched out as well, moving from just the normal fun things you do to humanitarian activities and much more.
This way, they know that they’re making a difference, and their morale is boosted.
Provide a platform for employees to voice any concerns or worries that they have without feeling scared of repercussions or backlash. Build trust, and respect the views of everyone.
Get recognition suggestions
One of the most critical aspects of employee engagement is recognition. However, since people are different, you need to ensure that you find out how each person prefers to be recognized.
Celebrate the champions
When an employee does exceptional work, ensure that they are properly celebrated. Apart from making them feel that the effort was worth it, this also encourages others to double up on the work.
You should also create areas where employees can interact with each other. A tiny basketball court, a lunchroom. Or just a set of couches should do the trick nicely.
Support should never be lacking. Apart from just the financial remunerations, these people also want to know that you’ve got their back. Provide pension plans, healthcare, and other benefits to make them feel secure in their jobs
Employee engagement activities at Google, TCS, and other top companies
Undoubtedly, Google is one of the best places to work for. The company has regularly featured on the list of best companies to work for by Fortune Magazine, and it has a Glassdoor rating of 4.4 stars.
Employee engagement activities at Google have been models for several organizations across the world, and they’ve formed archetypes of what employee engagement activities in Indian companies should be as well.
Apart from the attractive salaries and other benefits that Google offers, the company has invested in several initiatives to help ensure that workers feel valued and engaged.
Google has been known to invest in programs to inspire people, and its flexibility is second to none. Offices have massive perks, including on-site haircuts, pools, gaming rooms, playgrounds, and much more. All of these ensure that workers almost never have any stress when working.
TCS, one of the largest software exporters in India, has also had some impressive success with employee engagement activities. The company was awarded the ‘Employee Engagement Project of the Year’ and ‘Social Responsibility Project of the Year’ at the North American Employee Engagement Awards back in 2016.
Employee engagement activities in TCS have been rampant, but its biggest selling point has been through employee volunteering, especially through the goIT program; a computer science education advocacy program that teaches coding, design, and robotics to students in middle and high school.
Workplace mental health is a simple as physical health. Productivity in the workplace is just as much a mental activity as it is a physical activity. When workers are dealing with problems such as anxiety, depression, and more, they tend to be less productive, and the company could suffer as a result.
Mental health at workplace is a set of steps that can be taken to ensure that people are able to coexist in a workplace and be their best, most productive selves without adversely affecting their emotions or mental state.
How can you improve the mental health of employees in your workplace?
Let trust be a working foundation
Challenges such as substance abuse and mental health are really difficult for people to talk about, especially when these people have the challenges to deal with.
As an employer, it’s important to create a certain level of trust between the company management and the employees, which will make anyone feel comfortable with communicating their challenges and concerns to others; it could be a fellow employee, or it could be a supervisor.
At the end of the day, people would feel at ease with discussing their challenges, and the company should help create a roadmap to help them overcome them.
Take out stigma
Teams that are overly focused on performance could end up isolating embers that are feeling anxious or depressed. However, as an employer, you will need to find a way to make mental health issues less stigmatizing.
Openly speaking about all of these issues can be a great way to start, as it helps staff to feel comfortable with voicing their needs and concerns
A lot of companies these days provide well-being and health benefits to employees in a bid to encourage healthy activities and lifestyles. They provide incentives for exercising, leisure, and much more. In the same manner, mental health should be prioritized as well. Employers should ensure that employees are mentally fit, and they should promote proper, healthy habits that will help their workers improve on both their mental and physical health.
Provide on-site training
Several training programs provide a great way of providing the right information and effective techniques on how to speak to and provide support to a colleague who needs help, thus helping your company to produce a strong and resilient workforce.
Why is mental health important at work?
To understand the significance of mental health in the workplace, here are some important mental health at the workplace statistics
The World Health Organization estimates that anxiety and depression cost the global economy about $1 trillion annually in terms of lost productivity
The Organization also found that an investment in mental health is a worthwhile one. As it discovered, putting $1 into treatment for common mental disorders can provide a ROI of $4 in terms of increased productivity and enhanced health
Mindfulness and meditation programs aimed at reducing stress have been found to be increasing in popularity, as up to 53% of employees are looking into making more investments in that area
In a report by Capita, the following were discovered:
Up to 79% of workers have experienced several cases of stress within the past year
22% of workers experience stress more often than not (or all of the time)
47% of workers now see it as being normal to feel anxious and stressed at work
45% of workers have considered looking for a new career path because they found themselves in a severely stressful one
53% have known a few colleagues who were forced to quit their jobs due to immense stress
49% don’t believe that their direct superiors will know what to do about dealing with mental health issues in the workplace.
If these mental health in the workplace statistics show anything, it’s that companies will need to do their best to their best to support their workers who are dealing with mental health issues in the workplace
How does mental illness affect the work performance of your employees?
Understanding this will require a look into the main causes of mental health issues in the workplace
Demands are perhaps the most significant contributing factor to stress in the workplace. Demands could be due to the workload, the work pattern on a specific long-term project, or even the work environment.
Simply put, the following could be easy triggers of stress:
Unrealistic expectations and short deadlines
Constant exposure to technology without a break or “de-steaming” period
A lack of sufficient staff to handle a project
Overly long working hours, especially without any accompanying additional benefits to help soften the blow
All in all, employees are able to feel that the demands of their jobs are getting too much, and in due time, it could lead to anxiety and stress.
A lack of work control
In this case, employees are unable to dictate the terms under which they do their work. Most companies provide easy compromises, especially when making some unusual demands of their employees. However, when they’re unable to influence their work process, things become less free for them.
Some of the most significant aspects of a lack of control include:
Little to no control over various aspects of a project
Limited involvement in major decision-making processes
Inadequate account taken to suggestions from staff and workers.
No influence on targets and objectives
Employees are required to have a little bit of control over the pace at which they work, as well as the requirements of the company as related to a project being conducted. When they’re left to keep working at the whims of upper management, they begin to feel like slaves who have no say in how they make a living.
Support from the company is also an important aspect of keeping employees happy and free of stress. When they’re left to fend for themselves without knowing that they have proper support from their colleagues and the company management, their anxiety about the job grows, and they’re limited in how they express themselves or approach their job.
Limited support also stifles innovation, as workers are left to continue working on repetitive tasks without an incentive to think outside the box and bring up new ideas for the company to adopt; apart from the mental effect that this has on the workers, it could also be detrimental for the company as well. Ideas could come from anywhere, and shutting employees’ ability to express themselves the right way never helps anyone.
Stress in the workplace could also be caused by a lack of understanding of an employee’s role at the company. Coupled with inadequate training, role ambiguity could lead to conflicting responsibilities, as well as an inability to easily combine multiple facets of a position.
Role conflict and ambiguity will go on to affect workers’ performance, thus increasing their ability to leave the company much earlier than they should.
This is why it’s important that all roles are properly defined, and any associated information should be made available to employees in good time. Understanding the scope of their job is a great way for workers to excel at it, and systems should be put in place to ensure that employees are able to raise any concerns that they have. Much more than that, policies should be put in place to ensure that these concerns are addressed and in good time.
Issues with work-life balance
Everyone has a life beyond the work that they do. Some have spouses and children, while those who are single at least have friends and loved ones that they share their lives with.
Much more than the fact that these acquaintances and family provide employees with an opportunity to grow, they are also there to help them with hard times. However, relationships require maintenance, and there’s an implied commitment that people enter into when they start a new relationship- whether romantic or platonic.
Up until now, the issue of balancing work and life is a hot-button one, and it’s yet to be solved for several reasons. As the global work culture becomes more demanding, the increased pressure is beginning to tip the balance, and people are now having it more difficult to spend time with their family members and those who they love.
Mental health and productivity in the workplace are related in more ways than one, and there is a significant potential for the demands of work and home to spill over to each other, thus putting a strain in peoples’ relationships and work productivity. The most critical of these triggers include:
Long hours at work
Inflexible work schedules that become too demanding
Excessive travel time
All of these have a high potential for interfering with personal and home time, and the problem is that as relationships get more affected, people begin to get distracted at work. Relationships are a critical part of life, and when a person loses an important relationship, they become unable to function as they should at work- especially if work is the reason why they were unable to fulfil their commitments.
Poor work relationships
We’re all human, and if social sciences have taught us anything, it’s that it isn’t possible to get along with everyone. While this is fine, it becomes problematic when varying personalities clash and blow up to become conflicts at the workplace.
They might not be such a common cause of mental health at workplace issues, but poor relationships with co-workers can be rather perplexing. It impedes the ability of a worker to be free and creative on their own, and it reduces their productivity a great deal as well.
Why should you not fire an employee for having mental health issues?
Apart from the fact that it could lead you in some legal troubles, it is important for you to provide adequate support to employees who are dealing with mental health issues in the workplace.
A lot of people tend to be their most productive when they feel mentally fit. When you fire someone who has a breakdown or is suffering from a challenge, you’re essentially painting yourself to be an employer who doesn’t care much about the plight of his workers. In the long run, workers feel less comfortable in the workplace, and are more pressured into producing results. It’s a vicious cycle, which could lead to both emotional and physical harm to the employees.
Mental health at workplace issues can affect anybody. As an employer, you should also remember that mental health and productivity in the workplace are related, and your employees are the engine of your operation. If they feel uncomfortable because they know that they could be fired for facing mental health challenges, they will be unable to give their maximum effort to ensuring the success of the firm.
How should you encourage your employees to speak about their mental health?
The first thing you need to do as an employer is to build trust with your employees. Workers are only able to speak about their mental health challenges when they trust that they can be heard without any judgment, stigma, or some other repercussion.
You could also adopt the anonymity rule. Provide a platform for people to voice complaints anonymously, thus ensuring that people can speak and get their problems addressed without anyone else knowing what could be going on.
Improving conversations is another way to get this done. Provide a forum where people can speak about mental health at workplace issues that they face, and allow them to proffer solutions to some of their common solutions. However, you will also need to show a commitment to solving these problems.
Employers should also show empathy to the plight of their employees. The devotion to ensuing their mental well-being has several far-reaching effects, including the ability to encourage other workers to share their problems as well. Managers should form stronger bonds with their employees, so they can see when these people are weighed down by one issue or the other.
Employee burnout is something that quite a lot of workers across the world deal with. According to a CNBC report, Gallup took a survey of 7,500 full-time staff in 2018, and employee burnout statistics showed that 23 percent claimed they felt burned out often, while 44 percent claimed they were burned out sometimes.
There’s a lot to unpack about employee burnout, and it can be quite a drag. However, it’s important to understand the problem from a holistic level.
What are the 5 stages of employee burnout?
Burnout doesn’t just happen. It’s a slow burn that occurs across several stages. Here’s how the progression goes:
Enthusiasm: The enthusiasm stage is just the beginning. Here, you invest your energy into a job or a project, and you do all you can to meet a set objective (or a set of objectives, as the case may be)
Stagnation: You find that your life is begging essentially binary- you have nothing but work and home life, and most of the time, one suffers for another. You could try putting in more effort, but not much changes and you feel distraught
Frustration: When stagnation continues to build, you get overly frustrated, and you find that your efforts aren’t paying off at all. This feeling of powerlessness leads to frustration, and it grows over time
Apathy: This is the onset of both disillusionment and despair. You accept things as they are, and just become indifferent
Intervention: When the frustration leads to apathy and you see no way out, you look to someone to help out and make things better in some form.
What causes employee burnout?
There are a lot of employee burnout causes and cures. However, you won’t be able to proffer a solution to something you’re not familiar with. So, before we go into how to combat employee burnout, let’s look at some of the contributing factors.
Too much work on employees
No matter how industrious or energetic am employee is, there’s always a point where they burn out eventually. When there’s an ever-increasing amount of work placed on an employee, then the likelihood of employee burnout is significantly increased.
In an Engagement Report published by Tiny Pulse, about 70 percent of employees feel like they won’t be able to get their allotted of quotas done on every week. One of the simplest ways to address this employee burnout sign is to ensure that workloads are reasonable, and workers have easy access to the tools and resources they need to get their jobs done the right way.
Narrow job definitions
A lack of job and operational scope width could also cause employee burnout. When a worker is made to do the same thing (or the same couple of things) time and again over an extended period, the experience leads to mind-numbing monotony, which will, in turn, lead to boredom and natural employee burnout.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that workers should be made to cover wide scopes of work, but even the smallest variations in routines could help keep the spark in the job. At the end of the day, what no one wants is to wake up every morning and feel like they’re just going through the motions.
A depressing work environment
One of the most significant causes of employee burnout is a depressing, non-enabling work environment.
A person who is constantly exposed to depression in an environment and who has no way of getting out continues to stoop into an unhelpful mental environment. Since the mind tends to manifest itself into the physical sooner or later, there’s no way burnout can be prevented.
Solving this goes beyond just making everyone feel friendly and smile every day. There needs to be a culture of upliftment and cheer around the work space that comes from the top down. When everyone feels supported and cared for, their morale increases, and so does their energy
Employees were hired to perform specific tasks, and as a leader, you should leave them while they conduct their work. No adult human loves being micromanaged and monitored at every stage of their work. Apart from the fact that it could be degrading, it leaves them under the constant pressure that they might not ever be able to do a job that’s good enough.
Employees should be made to operate autonomously, and they should be allowed to operate to the extent of their abilities. Mistakes will be made, but you should be there to offer a guiding hand.
An unfavorable compensation structure
Regardless of what anyone says, the most significant thing that workers work for is money. While they might get satisfaction from being able to help your company meet its objectives and touch lives, the truth is that none of that pays the bills- money does.
So, it’s one thing to expect workers to keep working hard and enjoy their work, doing that will be quite impossible to do when they don’t get paid enough for the services they render. High expectations really only work when workers are being paid enough.
In 2017, Tiny Pulse released its 2017 Engagement Report, which showed that about a quarter of workers would very much be open to taking a job somewhere else if they were promised a 10 percent bump in their salaries. When workers are properly compensated, they stay motivated and energized to help your company grow.
How can employee burnout be prevented?
If you’re a worker and you notice that you’ll be busy for the foreseeable future, then you should keep burnout at a minimal level. That said, here are some simple tactics you could employ:
Get enough sleep
One of the most publicized symptoms of burnout is insomnia. When you get less sleep than you should, your brain gets weighed and is unable to function at optimal levels.
There are also a few other consequences, including but not limited to an increased likelihood of accidents on the road and several diseases (such as hypertension, cancer, and depression)
Exercise is a crucial aspect of your physical and mental health. Regular exercise will help reduce stress, thus going a long way to take down the chances of burnout as well. When you exercise, you know you’re taking proper care of yourself, and that confidence helps take out the chances of both physical and mental exhaustion.
Exercise also increases your productivity and cognitive performance, according to a blog post from PD Resources.
It has been proven that laughing can relieve stress and provide a wide array of both long- and short-term benefits. Currently, every piece of research conducted about laughter has shown that it produces nothing but positive results.
So, interact more with your co-workers and laugh more. Really, it never hurts anyone.
Know when to decline
No one has ever benefited from being a “yes man.” When you’re at work and people notice that you say yes to every project and every favor, they tend to take advantage of that. The more you take upon yourself, the higher the chances of you getting burned out faster.
Saying yes to everything can be easy, especially if you have that go-better attitude. However, for the sake of your own productivity and mental health, you’ll need to learn how to decline some tasks.
How can I help my team with burnout?
The first step to helping your employees is to understand some of the most important employee burnout symptoms. These include:
Increased lateness or absenteeism
A reduction in production and work quality, especially from someone who has higher work standards
Changes in personality around the office
Reduced engagement and isolation.
When you spot any of these employee burnout signs, then it’s important to take action. Here are some of the most significant ways to improve the situation:
Monitor employees’ workload: Make sure you don’t end up piling your employees (especially your most productive ones) with too much work. It never ends well.
Encourage vacations and make structures available: Hard work should be compensated. When you notice that an employee is exhibiting one of the employee burnout signs mentioned above, encourage them to take some time off and blow off steam
Switch things up in the workplace: Employees like variety, ensure that you don’t cultivate an overly monotonous work environment
Embrace flexibility: For some workers, the commute to work alone can be depressing. Thanks to 21st-century technology, however, it’s now possible for people to work at home and still be as productive as they would be if they were at work. Embrace it as well
Encourage the work-life balance: Show your workers that they can be engaged at work and still maintain a great life at home, no one said both things need to be mutually exclusive.
Streamline your processes: Increased bureaucracy only kills productivity. Make sure to take out (or, at the very least, reduce) all time-consuming processes that could frustrate workers
Compensate fairly: One of the most important things you could ever don for your workers is to ensure that they’re properly compensated. Make sure that their pay matches the level of work and effort they put in.
Show appreciation: For every great job done, make sure the worker feels valued and appreciated.
Provide work resources: One of the ways to ensure that workers stay motivated and strengthened is to provide them with the tools they need to carry out their jobs effectively.
Make them decision-makers: Decide on the things that employees can know about, and seek their input. From the little things like when next to go for an offsite or how many days they would like to come to work next week, make them involved in company decisions, and show them that their opinions are valued. If you can’t implement their suggestions, let them know why
How do I relieve employee stress?
Encourage wellness in the workplace
Two of the most potent weapons you can have against employee stress are healthy living and exercise. Exercise will help your employees take their minds off the stress they feel while at work, while also helping to boost their moods.
When employees feel that you value their health, they’re bound to feel more valued. As Peapod.com explained in a study, about 66 percent of workers felt happy when their employees restock the fridge, while 83 percent claimed that healthy eating was a huge work perk.
Change the workplace
A lot of employee stress comes from the work environment. If you want to relieve it, then think about every aspect of the office space and how it could improve the wellness of your workers.
So, optimize the workplace to value their wellness. From things like the coffee quality to big things like changing the office furniture, try as much as you can to revamp the environment.
Let employees work remotely
If you’re confident about the employees’ ability to get the work done and produce reports, then let them prove it to you. The office should feel less like a cell, and workers should be free to work from home from time to time.
Among other things, it allows the workers to understand that their work hinges on productivity, and not whether or not they get to the workplace.
Make time for social activity
All work and no play makes everyone dull. Encourage more social activities, and let the employees spend time together. As they continue to socialize, they feel more comfortable with each other, and the interactions between them are improved.
Everyone loves a little bit of praise when they do a good job. So, if you notice that someone has crushed their objectives, be the first person to show them how proud of them you are. This achieves two goals; it makes the celebrated employee feel valued, while others are also encouraged to double up on the work.
Being a leader is much more than just giving orders across the workplace; you must stay sensitive to the emotions of your employees and workers at all times. Empathy is a skill that helps you build that sensitivity.
So, why is empathy overlooked in the workplace? Most times, it’s a lack of understanding concerning its benefits. That’s why we’re here.
What is an empathetic leader?
The term doesn’t need more of an explanation. An empathetic leader is one that can see things from the perspective of the subordinate or employee and who is willing to take steps to remedy certain situations.
Empathetic leaders aren’t particularly the type of people to let just about everything pass in the name of trying to relate to their workers, but they have an understanding and the ability to put themselves in the shoes of the people that they’re supposed to lead.
An empathetic leader can help his or her subordinates feel comfortable and at east at the workplace, and while they try to make their subordinates perfect in everything they do, they also have an understanding of the fact that there are times when being perfect might not be possible. Instead of punishing a worker or an employee due to his or her shortcomings or occasional inaccuracies, an empathetic leader can help them overcome these imperfections.
Of course, there’s a balance to this, the fact that you’re being empathetic doesn’t mean that you should let everything past; at the end of the day, there’s the place of discipline and instilling a sense of striving to be perfect. However, empathy is understanding that people are trying, and helping them to feel comfortable while working for you.
Do Empaths make good leaders?
There is no doubt about the fact that empaths can make great leaders. Empathy is an important leadership skill that leaders are encouraged to build, and here are some important reasons why:
Empaths are committed to building a better world
A true empath has one thing as first thought; how to improve a specific situation and help build a positive image of the people around them. Empaths always have it as a priority to contribute to the improvement of the people and situations around them, as opposed to just looking out for themselves and what they can take.
By improving relations and supporting others, empaths help provide an opportunity for people to be better versions of themselves.
Empaths can bear the burdens of others
The ability to carry the burden of other people is a great way to show strength and leadership, and this is something that makes empaths great leaders. While their ability to carry peoples’ burdens is great, however, it is also important for an empath to learn how to distinguish between helping people and maintaining their focus on a particular goal. The best empaths can harness the strength that they have, and ensure that they propel others to be better while also improving on themselves as well
Empaths can handle challenges
According to a study, a leader with the best insight can distinguish between his assessment of himself and how his employees see him. Leaders who have strong insights can understand their needs, emotions, and behavior, while also being able to understand the characteristics of other people as well.
Besides, empathetic and insightful leaders are proactive when they get faced with challenges. Empathy improves your level of self-awareness, which will help you to approach negative situations and setbacks with a positive attitude.
In his book, “Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain,” author Dr. Antonio Damasio conducts a study that revealed that patients who had damage done to the parts of their brains that deal with empathy had a significant lack of relationship skills.
Thus, empaths can relate and communicate better with the people around them. Through this, they gain a better understanding of their social environments and can exist more peaceably with others and achieve results based on specific scenarios.
Adaptability is strong
In a business environment where competition is high, finding a leading position can be challenging. However, empaths can understand their social environments, and thus, can adapt much better to challenging times. They understand why things might not be going well more easily, and by being aware of the happenings in their organizations- both from within and without.
Their influence is extended
In a separate study, employees were able to grow easier and faster when working under relatable managers who were able to relate with and take them under their wings. These empathetic leaders allowed them to be more involved, thus providing them with a proper avenue to let their strengths shine and improve on their skills.
In turn, the employees saw these managers through improved perspectives and showed an increased willingness to innovate and work.
Is empathy an important character trait?
As stated earlier, empathy is a very important character trait that everyone- regardless of whether they’re in leadership roles or not- is encouraged to develop.
Here are some of the reasons why:
Empathy provides an advantage when it comes to building beneficial relationships and connections with others. By sensing the thoughts and emotions of others, you can respond positively to various social scenarios
Empathy can also help you keep your emotions in check. Whether you’re a leader or not, you’ll come to find that emotional control is important, since it allows you to manage how you feel without becoming overwhelmed
With empathy, you can develop healthy behavior. Apart from the benefit that this brings on the people around you, it could also benefit you since these people feel more inclined to come to your aid when you need them
Why is empathy important for managers?
The value of empathy in leadership can’t possibly be overstated. It is an important tool that helps to optimize productivity and results and can take care of some workplace redundancies.
Empathy improves staff loyalty
Every organization faces the struggle of keeping talented members of staff. One of the most prominent reasons why workers tend to leave the companies they work for is that they lose trust and respect for the people they are to report directly to.
An empathetic leader is trustworthy and can show workers that they’re appreciated and cared for. Whether in how you relate to workers personally or in the way the organization relates as a whole, everyone prefers to stay in a company where they feel appreciated, valued, and important.
Empathetic managers engage staff better
People who are the closest to you are the ones who are the most adept at appreciating you and making you feel more appreciated for the things you do daily. This appreciation makes you more willing to do even more for them when next they need you.
When it comes to employee engagement, it’s important that every leader demonstrates and shows that they care. By doing this, the empathetic leader unwittingly sets off a reciprocation that will make workers want to do even more the next go around. A lot of organizations tend to miss the most minute point when it comes to leadership habits, and appreciation for the work that employees put in is a great way to start.
The most successful organizations understand this, and they’re always looking for ways to compliment and appreciate their staff for their work
Empathy improves relationships between employees
Apart from the fact that employees feel appreciated and valued for their work, showing empathy in the workplace as a leader has a chain reaction that spreads to the employees as well. When there’s empathy in leadership, every facet of the organization feels it, and this reduces friction and conflict among staff members as well.
Empathy in management leads to a stronger teamwork spirit, and negatives such as workplace disruption are cleared. As collaboration is increased, so will output and workplace productivity.
Empathetic leaders, happier workers
This point ties to some of the previous ones already made. When there’s empathy in the workplace, staff feel that they’re appreciated and valued, and they become more satisfied with the job and are more optimized daily.
An increase in job satisfaction reduces the levels of absenteeism and nonchalance. Staff who aren’t committed are less motivated to come in every day, and since they believe that no one really cares about them or how they feel about certain issues, their morale about the job is significantly depleted as well.
A knock-on effect of nonchalance is that it puts a lot of strain on fellow workers as well since they are left to pick up the slack and make up for the lags of the defaulting members of staff. In no time, overall productivity is reduced, and employee morale goes down the drain.
Empathy could spur increased creativity
The value of empathy in leadership can also lead to an increase in out-of-the-box thinking from workers. People who are made to feel like they are important, meaningful parts of an organization tend to bring in more and look for ways to continue to matter.
This leads to an increase in creativity and innovation, which will significantly increase the company’s productivity and output over time.
With empathy in the workplace, workers have a higher likelihood of bringing up newer ideas and ways to improve on both their work and that of the organization, since they know that their efforts will be rewarded.
As they see it, their success has been intertwined with that of the organization. Thus, they feel more committed to your goals and are willing to give even more. Thus, they feel ready to innovate and help make processes more efficient.
What are the 3 types of empathy?
Showing empathy is one thing, but it’s also important to mark the distinction between the various available forms of empathy.
The following is a simple guide to help mark those distinctions:
Cognitive empathy is the ability to understand a person’s current state of mind and emotions. It is the form of empathy that helps improve communications, as it boosts your ability to relay information.
Emotional- or affective- empathy is the ability to share someone else’s feelings. It is important for building emotional connections with people, thus improving your ability to relate to their current situations.
Compassionate empathy is a step beyond the former two, although their significance can’t possibly be diminished as well. Also known as “emphatic concern,” compassionate empathy is what moves you to take action and provide help to someone in need.
What are some examples of empathy?
Taking the three forms of empathy discussed above, consider this example of an empathetic leader:
You have a worker who recently lost a family member. Naturally, you could be moved to feel empathetic, pity the worker, or even be sad for them. Sympathy will move you to show your sadness at this, or perhaps evens end a card to the person to commiserate and let them know that they’re in your heart as well.
However, there is some time and effort that could go into showing empathy as well. The train starts with cognitive empathy; trying to imagine how the worker could be feeling at this point.
“How close were you?”
these are questions you ask them. However, you also begin to think about how this loss could affect the worker going forward.
Then, emotional empathy will help you to find a way to share these feelings. You find a connection in yourself that understands how emotional pain and grief could feel. It could be you remembering what it was like to lose someone, or just imagining how it would be if the person who played that role in your life was suddenly taken from you.
Then, compassionate empathy will move you to take some form of action to make the worker feel better. You could tell him or her to take the day off, offer to cover some of the funeral costs, or even help make some phone calls and reduce the workload on the worker.