Empathy when it’s convenient | WARC | The Feed
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Empathy when it’s convenient
Ad industry leaders’ fine words on empathy aren’t cutting it with staff, as new research from Australia indicates an “empathy gap” between those at the top and middle managers/junior staff.
Why it matters
Workplace wellbeing shot to prominence during the pandemic and lockdowns, as many people struggled to cope with fear, grief, isolation and burnout. Issues around diversity and inclusion have also risen up the business agenda in response to campaigns like #Black Lives Matter. But the findings of this study from the Mentally Healthy Change Group into empathy within the media, marketing and creative industry, based on a survey of more than 500 people, suggest that companies’ actions may often have been more about ticking boxes than genuinely addressing the issues. Creating a sense of disillusionment among staff is hardly the way to retain them at a time when it’s difficult to recruit people in the first place.
- The great majority of people surveyed (86%) said empathy at work was personally important to them, but only 38% believed their employer valued empathy.
- The main barriers to empathetic workplaces were time pressures (80%), a focus on client satisfaction over employee satisfaction (68%) and lack of understanding of the role of empathy and business metrics (66%)
- Seven in ten (70%) respondents in leadership roles felt they worked in an inclusive workplace compared to only 55% of respondents on middle or junior levels.
- Half (51%) of respondents were considering leaving in the next 12 months, rising to 61% among more junior staff.
The big idea
Empathy in the workplace is seen to bring real benefits including better collaboration between teams, improvement in job satisfaction and a more inclusive work culture.
“It appears respondents are not always seeing empathetic intentions modeled because often 'the business comes first'. Indeed, the stronger the belief that a business puts profit first, the stronger the likelihood for people in the company to want to leave” – Andy Wright, co-chair of the Mentally Healthy Change Group and founder of Never Not Creative.
Sourced from Ad News [Image: Getty]
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