The Importance of Empathy


We're currently looking at a trend where unemployment is low and there is a skilled labor shortage, meaning employees have the advantage. Just as you have to work to keep your patients, you must also work to retain (and recruit) the best employees possible. 

So, what can you do?

It's All About Empathy

One area to focus on improvement is empathy in the workplace. It is important to ensure that your employees are in line with your practice's values, and it may be time to evaluate if your values are in line with your employees. It really is a two-way street.

The Workplace Empathy study found that 90% of employees are more likely to stay with an employer that empathizes with their needs. On the same coin, almost 80% would consider leaving their current employer if it displayed less empathetic treatment. The study found that people are willing to work longer hours and even take slightly less pay for an empathetic employer.

When you learn to lead with empathy (and not just as a buzzword), you can build a more engaged and stronger workforce, as well as a healthier and more productive practice.

Show You C.A.R.E.

The word "empathy" itself might seem soft, but the consequences are hard. When you think of the word empathy, it is probably in line with words like sympathy, understanding, thoughtfulness, sensitivity, and care. Care is a big word here, and New York Time's Best-Selling Author Shep Hyken came up with a C.A.R.E model to help businesses exhibit empathy with their employees.

  • Connect: To run a successful practice, you need more than employees. You need a connection. It is human nature for people to want to belong to a group with aligning values, but there needs to be more. Your employees want to feel as though they are a part of something meaningful and fulfilling, where their work is valued. That connection goes beyond good work for good pay.
  • Acknowledge: Your employees want to be appreciated and acknowledged. They want to be (and deserve to be) recognized for the great work they do. You can show this gratitude through genuine compliments, public recognition (when appropriate), and compensation. These gestures don't always have to be huge; a company dinner outing or even logo'ed items of their choosing is a great start.
  • Responsiveness: As the leader of your practice, employees will come to you with special requests or when they need help, whether it's about work or something personal. Your leadership should be accessible and you should be easy to connect with. 
  • Enthusiasm: Put on your motivational speaker hat, and bolster that enthusiasm, as it can play an important part in your employee's sense of belonging and fulfillment. When leadership can get excited about an employee's accomplishment – both inside and outside of the practice – it shows they care. That’s true empathy!

If empathy is not on the radar for your practice, you are at risk of losing top employee candidates and your long-term employees. Many companies are more concerned with customer loyalty than employee loyalty, and perhaps a shift in those efforts would benefit your practice. Focusing on empathy in the workplace is a great place to start!