Why Empathy Matters

April 17th, 2019

What is empathy anyway? Well, for starters, it’s not sympathy (“oh, you poor thing”), it’s not offering advice (“you should do this”), and it’s not minimizing (“it could be worse”). Empathy is simply listening fully to the other per­son. You don’t have to agree with them, but you do have to try to understand their situ­ation.

So why are listening and empathy so impor­tant anyway? Because it makes us better, hap­pier, and more tolerant people. A 2017 poll found that 77 percent of workers said they’d be willing to work more hours for a more empathetic workplace, and 60 percent said they’d actually accept a lower salary for the same. Meanwhile, less than half of work­ers say their workplaces are empathetic, but 92 percent of HR professionals say that work­places that show compassion and empathy are better at retaining employees.

It seems we all crave being heard and under­stood, and that’s what empathy is all about.

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