The Empathetic Employer

Empathy! The most overused and abused word, especially in such times. But sky is the limit when it comes to empathy and being empathetic. 

In times as strange as these, we need to be more conscious and aware that all our actions have deeply connected impact and can chart the course for the future in terms of the people we touch. 

In recent times, as we hear stories that are beautiful and empowering, we also hear stories that are not exactly the kinds that will make us proud of being human. 

There are many organisations that have bent over backwards to accommodate and make lives easier for their people. From work from home packages to hampers and assistance for remote working and special engagement segments to providing sessions on wellbeing, metal health and other related topics, there are organisations trying to do their best by their people. I for one am really lucky to be part of an organisation that goes beyond its means to care for its people and the team is reflective of that and this distills down into the rungs of the organisation as well. 

There are also organisations that have made this time troublesome and used the fear that is palpable to take advantage of their people and push them into not so comfortable spaces. From asking people to show up and turn up at work to putting unreasonable demands on people, there are companies that are not being empathetic and understanding. 

If an organisation is taking a strong stance which is not very pro its people, the onus is on the leadership to be kind and empathetic, while ensuring tasks and performance are managed well. 

How do you create an empathetic workplace?

Trust your people as when you pass on responsibility with trust, there is always better commitment to the role and the job. When you place your faith in people, the often tend to deliver and not disappoint. 

Listening to your people is important. Understanding their needs and concerns and keeping open doors to feedback can go a long way in gaining trust of your people as well. 

Ask questions, engage in conversations, and draw people out and get them to speak up by creating avenues where they can feel safe and can bring out their concerns.

Mark out the problems that are pressing and prioritise them to tackle the more important ones and then go on to the others. 

Extend support in any form that is needed, from a safe space to share concerns to something more tangible, there are many ways you can do this.  

Building empathy needs training, so invest in getting people trained for empathy and how to be empathetic. 

Treat everyone with respect and take them seriously as people appreciate being taken note of and cared for by both their leaders and their employers. 

Make them a part of the feedback and implementation mechanism for the organisation and democratise decision making as much as possible. 

Every move is watched and discussed so always do right by everyone and use inclusion and an unbiased approach to take decisions. 

Unhappy people lead to an unhappy workplace and reduces productivity and motivation dips in the long run. 

Start with doing what you would do, or you would want done if you were in their place and that is a great way to approach. 


All of this is easy to say but hard to implement. But one right choice, one right decision, one empathetic listening approach is all it needs to set the ball rolling to get better. 

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Shreya Krishnan
Vice President - Marketing and Communications at Aon India Insurance Brokers
Shreya is a CSR Specialist and Corporate Grooming Consultant. Her interests lie in Activism, Dance, Theatre, Poetry, Blogging, Modelling, Acting. She considers herself an Earth Warrior and is an Event Anchor and Trainer. She is a Pageant Winner and public speaker.

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