What is empathy and how important is it in the work environment?

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o que é empatia

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Empathy is the ability to put yourself in the other's shoes. Enter the universe of others for a few minutes, seeking to understand their reality and individual difficulties. And without judgment. But how important is this at work?

In the current pandemic context, this attribute has been increasingly discussed by the media. In times of economic crisis and social isolation, many companies have sought a new look at the employee. And this is the way: acquire a more human look for the work environment to be a place of cooperation and learning.

Want to understand the impacts of empathy in the work environment? In this post, we'll show you tips on how to encourage this attribute in your company! Check out!

What is empathy?

Empathy is, above all, emotional understanding. Seeing and accepting that a given situation may be nothing for you, but it can be a great difficulty for someone else!

It is not judging or belittling the other person's pain based on your personal experiences.

Despite being much discussed lately, not everyone is really aware of what empathy is. Many people think it is the same as sympathy or compassion, but they are totally different concepts.

Sympathy, for example, is a feeling of kinship. Compassion, on the other hand, is a feeling that awakens the desire to help others, but motivated by pity.

THE empathy overcomes all that, because in addition to the desire to help others, it also expands your perspectives!

How does this expansion take place? You start to see the other person's reality through the other's eyes, not yours. Can listen more carefully to other people. Begins to develop the interpretation and understanding of others' emotions.

But after all, how to use empathy in practice?

Whenever trying to truly understand someone's situation, empathy is needed. When arguing with a person with no results, empathy will be helpful in understanding their position and resolving the impasse. If you have trouble connecting with someone, think about empathy.

Therefore, whether to manage your emotions or someone close to you, exercising empathy is essential.

Much is said about the “new normal”, which would be the inevitable changes resulting from the pandemic. But is the new normal to continue dealing with people indifferently?

Now is a good time for you to question yourself: do your company's leaders and managers have an empathetic behavior with employees? And does your organizational culture promote values ​​such as empathy?

How to develop this ability?

Being empathetic is not an innate matter, that is, one of birth, but one of lifelong development. You may have been around people who are not empathetic, so this ability has not become an important value to you.

However, like any competence, empathy can be improved!


  1. Every time you want to judge a person, stop and think. And if you were in her situation, would you really do it differently? Start showing solutions, not criticism.
  2. You don't have to agree with everything the other says, but you need to know listen and respect positions different from yours.
  3. The more you step out of your comfort zone, the more enriching experiences you will experience. Try to experience the reality of the other for a moment.
  4. Comparing situations or pain hardly helps a person to get out of a problem. Each person has their own experiences and views on the world. That is why, avoid diminishing your colleague's situation.

Imagine that your co-worker is facing a variety of personal problems due to the pandemic, such as debt, hospitalized relatives and fights at home. And he can no longer work without that look of sadness.

A person without empathy might simply judge that person as “someone who just walks around dejected and negative.”

However, it is often just a bad phase, in which the person does not find a solution or emotional support to deal with your questions.

In this situation, offering some kind of help or simply having an empathetic conversation could make a difference. Your coworker would feel less lonely or guilty about these feelings!

The work environment can sometimes be a competitive and unforgiving place, dominated by sky-high goals, gossip, and mental strain. Nonetheless, you can do different.

Leaders and managers play a fundamental role in creating a more pleasant, friendly and healthier place to work. It's not just the employees' responsibility!

What are the benefits of this attribute for companies?

You've already noticed the importance of empathy in everyday life. But does it really positively impact companies? No doubt!

According to research from businesssolver in 2017, around 77% of workers would be willing to work longer hours if the company were more empathetic. Already 80% of workers in the “millennial generation” said they would leave their current jobs if the new office was more empathetic..

And the UK, is it an empathetic country?

Not so much!

According to study released by Michigan State University in 2016, the UK occupied 51st place in the ranking of most empathetic countries. 63 nations were evaluated, with the best positioned countries being Canada and the United States.

This means that empathy is still not a highly valued ability in our country. And it is not even necessary to enter the corporate environment to notice this reality. We observe attitudes and unsympathetic comments in family situations, media and social networks.

Knowing this, you can start to adopt new strategies. Empathy is key to creating deeper and more reciprocal relationships. For your company, it will be beneficial because:

  • anticipate problems, through the interpretation of the other's non-verbal language;
  • build humanized feedbacks, focused on improvement and not criticism;
  • contributes to developing the emotional intelligence, competence increasingly sought after and valued by companies;
  • raises the quality of the argument, since you also start to realize what is important to the other;
  • facilitates dialogue and understanding between people, whatever the position or sector;
  • improves productivity, since people are able to work in a unified and focused way towards the same goal;
  • reduces stress caused by arguments, bigotry and misunderstandings.

THE empathy it is much more than a competency, but a core value for any community. An essential feature for organizations seeking healthy growth and more engaged professionals.

In the next topic, you will check out some tips to make your company more empathetic!

How can organizations become more empathetic?

As we have seen, empathy applied at work can improve the organizational climate. This directly impacts the productivity and in the results of any business.

But what's the initial step in making it all natural? make empathy a essential value in your organizational culture!

Check out some tips:

  1. You can start encouraging an environment where life experiences are shared, and not just by the most outgoing employees. Also be an example. Show curiosity and interest in the lives of others. Everyone has something to learn and something to teach!
  2. Another point is understand that there are factors beyond our control, such as disease, rain, traffic, and now the pandemic. Therefore, it is normal for people to be more anxious and stressed than usual. So think of a strategy for employees to let off steam or face their day-to-day with more lightness.
  3. If possible, offer psychological help to guide employees with emotional difficulties. This prevents personal problems from jeopardizing work performance and even relationships with colleagues.
  4. Don't create an environment that looks for the culprits, but looking for solutions. When the organization's climate is based on judgment and competitiveness, there is no room for doubts or mistakes. As a result, people tend to shut down and engage in accusatory behavior. Be a welcoming company that makes room for dialogue and suggestions.
  5. Seek and encourage self-knowledge. Most of the time, we are judged by factors such as posture, gestures, tone of voice and communication in general. THE body language it's as important as the words. However, when the two conflict, you can end up conveying a negative image (even if it doesn't correspond to reality). If you want to lead with empathy, have an open and inviting tone of voice and posture.

Empathy is of great importance in the work environment, as it makes the corporate environment less cumbersome and more cooperative. In times of pandemic, this ability has been increasingly important for the good management of labor relations!

Empathy is certainly an ally for your business. With it, you become better able to manage teams, market products/services and lead employees around healthy growth.

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. Our HR consultant in London can assist you if you live in London. Suppose you live further afield thats not an issue! Visit our HR Consultants Near Me page to find the best consultancy nearest to you.
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