Silhouette of 2 people with their hands touching and a heart in the background depicting empathy

Empathy in Business

– A given or a strategy?

Empathy is generally recognised as one of the cornerstones of effective interpersonal relations, and a caring business. It’s liberally sprinkled across business conversations as an omnipotent solution to various challenges. It absolutely holds undeniable value, but it’s worth asking why its overuse has turned it into a clichéd term in the business world.

Compassionate workplaces are created by embracing empathy and being empathetic to others. The narrative is alluring, appealing to our inherent moral and social obligations.

More than ever, organisations aim to prove their dedication to society’s welfare. Empathy is a suitable buzzword for ethical initiatives because it implies consideration for others. Companies leverage empathy to project a caring image, often tying it to philanthropic efforts and social causes.

The risk of turning empathy into a cliché is that it may undermine its true significance. Authentic empathy requires more than lip service; it necessitates a profound cultural shift within organisations. Prioritising people over profit and actively listening to employees and customers is key.

Empathy is important, but it won’t work if it’s insincere and used for corporate messaging or with employees who will see straight through it.

Perhaps the biggest question is “What sort of a leader, what sort of organisation needs to be told it’s necessary?” Surely being or at least seeking to be empathic is a given?

What do you think?