First published on LinkedIn.
Ever noticed how executives who lead with empathy seem to have a better connection and trust with their employees?
Well...it's no coincidence!
Employee disengagement cost employers $8.8 trillion last year, and unhappiness at work cost employers $7.8 trillion.
In fact, "61% of folks looking for a new gig in 2022 blamed it on a toxic work culture messing with their personal lives." Empathetic leadership isn't just a buzzword. Forbes states it creates a workplace where employees feel valued, which not only lowers turnover but also boosts your employee value proposition.
"25% of companies that thrived during the 2020 pandemic linked their success to empathy."
This week, I had the wonderful opportunity to spend time with 100+ nationwide employees from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) discussing this very same topic, and I was able to provide them with tools to prepare for leadership for the future workforce.
For starters, you'll want to...
Practice active listening - lean in and give your full attention.
Put yourself in their shoes, both literally and figuratively.
Promote open and honest communication.
Don't forget to acknowledge and appreciate.
Encourage growth and development.
At the heart of it, leaders who flex their empathy muscle are actively working on their Emotional Intelligence (EI/EQ). They understand it's the secret sauce for leadership success. Leaders who are empathetic are good at building personal relationships on the job.
Why Building Personal Relationships at Work is Important
Increased Connection & Employee Engagement. Companies that offer training and learning opportunities tend to have a workforce that's more loyal and engaged. 92% of folks think friendships at work help retain employees and even make them more productive. When you've got a close work buddy, your job becomes more enjoyable, and you're more committed to it.
Increases Trust & Psychological Safety. Creating a workplace where everyone feels safe to be themselves is a gamechanger. Paycor indicates it boosts morale, lowers turnover, and improves communication and teamwork. When you've got a supervisor you trust, life at work becomes pretty sweet, as SHRM highlights. Feeling safe at work means you're likely to see your workplace culture in a better light.
Increases Retention & Reduces Turnover. Keeping the A-team together is a win-win. When you're connected to your co-workers and the company, you're less likely to hunt for jobs elsewhere. Indeed suggests it's not just about professional satisfaction but also the personal relationships that are hard to replace.
Increases Productivity & Innovation. Great work relationships not only amp up overall productivity but also make you more productive individually. Enjoying your coworker's company makes you work harder. It also sparks innovation. When you're in a psychologically safe environment and can be yourself, you're more likely to come up with game changing, innovative ideas.
Organically Develops Mentorship, Sponsorship, & Informal Succession Planning. Mentorship and sponsorship are gold. They help you keep your best people and support a diverse talent pool. It's a no-brainer! A study by Gartner and Capital Analytics found that mentees and mentors stay put longer.
In a world of "water cooler/coffee room" chats and virtual team huddles, it's these personal relationships that can turn your work life into something pretty amazing.
So...go ahead and make those workplace connections!
The rise of remote work models has challenged the traditional way we connect in the workplace, but it's also an opportunity to adapt and find new, creative solutions. To boost virtual connections, consider organizing virtual coffee chats or office hours where team members can informally discuss work and non-work topics, or leverage collaborative online tools for real-time brainstorming sessions, fostering a sense of Inclusion and Belonging despite physical distance.
Younger generations, like millennials (39%) and Gen Z (21%), are really feeling the impact of remote work. They've got the highest percentages of folks feeling like they're missing out on office friendships.
Even with these challenges, one in four people managed to make a work buddy they've never met face-to-face. And remember, the conversation about developing leadership skills never gets old.
Additionally, offering Generational Competencies training can be a great way to help all generations learn more about what motivates them and how to appreciate the unique work styles they each bring to the workplace. Ask me about my current course, available for both virtually and in-person workshops!
At the end of the day, employees want to feel like they are included and that they belong to part of a community. Creating a sense of belonging in the workplace can boost job performance by a remarkable 56%!!
We can all do our part to boost our own self-awareness. Over the past few years, I've curated a document of helpful resources that I share with clients, and now I'm gifting it to you to help further your understanding and acceptance of others. Hope you find it helpful.
National Native American Heritage Month: This commemorative month aims to provide a platform for Native people in the United States of America to share their culture, traditions, music, crafts, dance, and ways and concepts of life. This gives Native people the opportunity to express to their community, both city, county, and state officials their concerns and solutions for building bridges of understanding and friendship in their local area.
National Veterans and Military Families Month: November was first declared as Military Family Month in 1996. Since then, November has been a time to acknowledge the tremendous sacrifices our military families make. They contend with separation from their families and make adjustments to new living situations and communities. Military Families embody strength, resilience, and courage. Care of military families and children sustains our fighting force, and strengthens the health, security, and safety of our nation's families and communities.
Diabetes Awareness Month: November is National Diabetes Month, a time when communities across the country seek to bring attention to diabetes. This year's focus is on taking action to prevent diabetes health problems.
National Stress Awareness Day - Nov 1: This is a day of reinforcing the fact that you’re not doing yourself a favor by stressing about situations you can’t control. In fact, according to science, chronic stress leads to impaired cognitive and physiological functions.
All Saints’ Day (Roman Catholic) - Nov 1: Every year on November 1, many Roman Catholics and other Christians around the world observe All Saints Day, which honors all saints of the church deemed to have attained heaven.
World Adoption Day - Nov 9: This is a day to lift up all voices in the adoption community, to share your story, to reflect on your adoption journey, and to connect with those touched by adoption.
Veterans’ Day - Nov 11: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
Diwali (Hindu) - Nov 12: The Hindu festival of lights with its variations also celebrated in other Indian religions. It symbolizes the spiritual "victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance."
Transgender Awareness Week - Nov 13-19: Each year between November 13 – 19, people and organizations around the country participate in Transgender Awareness Week to help raise the visibility about transgender people and address issues members of the community face.
International Day for Tolerance - Nov 16: People are more connected - but this does not mean there is more understanding. Societies are ever more diverse – but intolerance is growing in many places. Tolerance is much more than passively accepting the other. It brings obligations to act, and must be taught, nurtured, and defended. Tolerance requires investment by States in people, and in the fulfillment of their full potential through education, inclusion, and opportunities. This means building societies founded on respect for human rights, where fear, distrust, and marginalization are supplanted by pluralism, participation, and respect for differences.
International Men’s Day - Nov 19: On November 19, International Men’s Day celebrates worldwide the positive value men bring to the world, their families, and their communities. We highlight positive role models and raise awareness of men’s well-being. The theme for 2023 is “Zero Male Suicide.” Together we can put a spotlight on, and hopefully reduce, male suicide.
Transgender Remembrance Day - Nov 20: Transgender Day of Remembrance is an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence that year.
Thanksgiving / National Day of Mourning - Nov 23: Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday that celebrates the harvest and other blessings of the past year. It goes hand-in-hand with the National Day of Mourning, which aims to educate the public about Native Americans in the United States and dispel myths surrounding the Thanksgiving story.
Native American Heritage Day - Nov 24: Encourages Americans of all backgrounds to observe the day after Thanksgiving as Native American Heritage Day, through appropriate ceremonies and activities. It also encourages public elementary and secondary schools to enhance student understanding of Native Americans by providing classroom instructions focusing on their history, achievements, and contributions.
Native Women’s Equal Pay Day - Nov 30: Native women working full-time, year-round are paid .59 cents and all earners (including part-time and seasonal) are paid .55 cents for every dollar paid to non-Hispanic white men.
Until next month... Be well and stay safe & healthy!