4Es: Employee Empathy, Engagement & Empowerment

Roopesh Shrestha

In the workplace, empathy is about showing respect for employees and co-workers. It is about a company’s managers showing that they care about their employees as human beings, recognizing they have lives outside of work.

Empathy is said to be the ability to experience and relate to the thoughts, emotions, or experiences of others. It is the ability to step into someone else shoes, be aware of their feelings and understand their needs.

According to a study by the US-based management consulting firm Businessolver, “Employers ignore empathy at their own risk.”

More leaders are increasingly seeing empathy as a vital workplace value, though many find it challenging to bring it to practice. Empathy entails good listening, openness and understanding.

Empathy is an essential skill for leadership. Especially if your organization values customer service, delivery and having good internal and external customer service relations. It is important to hire the right people and then treat them well. Empathetic leaders motivate their teams to perform better and give their best. Empathy also elevates customer satisfaction.

One of the common complains consumers have, when they raise an issue with a company, is that customer service agents do not show sufficient understanding or sympathy for their predicament.

Empathy plays a central role in creating a satisfactory customer experience, is an essential element of everyday relationships, and can be equally powerful when it comes to company-customer relationships.

This is the time more than ever, for businesses to become more focused on forging strong, meaningful relationships with their customers. An old saying that, “People may forget what you said. People may forget your actions, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

“Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives”Oprah Winfrey

Employees who feel connected to their organization work harder, stay longer and motivate others to do the same.

Employee engagement affects just about every important aspect of your organization, including profitability, revenue, customer experience, employee turnover, and more.

Research shows that 92 percent of business executives believe that engaged employees perform better, boosting the success of their teams and the outcomes of their organizations.

Employee engagement is the strength of the mental and emotional connection employees feel toward the work they do. Employee engagement measures how employees feel about their organization. Based on their perceptions of their workplace, it can be categorized into different groups such as highly engaged, moderately, barely and disengaged group of employees.

Highly engaged employees hold very favorable opinions of their place of work. When employees feel connected to their teams, love their jobs, and have positive feelings about your organization, they are going to want to stay and put in extra effort to help the organization succeed. These «brand advocates» speak highly of their company to family and friends. They encourage other employees around them to do their best.

Moderately engaged employees see their organization in a moderately favorable light. They like their company but see opportunities for improvement. These employees are less likely to ask for more responsibilities and may underperform. There is something about the organization or their job that holds them back from full engagement.

Barely engaged employees feel indifferent toward their place of employment. Usually lack motivation for their position and will only do as much as they can to get by sometimes less. Barely engaged employees may be researching other jobs and are a high turnover risk.

Disengaged employees have a negative opinion of their place of work. They are disconnected from the mission, goals, and future of the organization. They lack the commitment to their position and responsibilities. It is important to understand to handle such employees so that their negative perceptions do not affect the productivity of employees around them.

Employee engagement is appealing to HR because of its immediate benefits in employee retention, recruitment, job satisfaction, and happiness. Inclining the span much further than HR.

Organizational leaders are employee engagement advocates. They are the influential campaigners and top promoters of an engaged culture. It is critical when it comes to the employee, HR should take ownership of employee engagement initiatives and hold teams accountable. This team is behind the scenes making sure everything runs smoothly.

Managers interact with employees more than anyone else does. They must create an environment where every individual can thrive and truly be engaged. Depend on managers to:

  • Build good relationships with each employee
  • Serve as a sounding board for employee feedback and suggestions
  • Recognize and celebrate individual and team performance
  • Provide continuous performance feedback
  • Help employees develop and grow
    Employees are your voices on the front lines and your main line of sight into the employee experience. Rely on employees to:
  • Provide honest, candid, and actionable feedback about what is and isn’t working
  • Brainstorm new and creative solutions that address their concerns
  • Own their performance and development
  • Engage in meaningful relationships with their teams and managers

Employee empowerment is a management philosophy that emphasizes the importance of giving employees the autonomy, resources and support they need to act independently and be held accountable for the decisions they make

Research reveals that when employees feel empowered at work, they exhibit stronger job performance, report higher job satisfaction, and display a greater commitment to the organization.

According to Deloitte’s Millennial Survey, more than 2/3 of millennials believe it is an organization’s job to provide them with accelerated development opportunities in order for them to stay with that organization. Supportive management that guides employees and knows how to empower them, by setting clear goals, coaching for high performance, developing future leaders and providing continuous feedback, automatically makes a workplace irresistible to potential employees.
Because of employee empowerment, employees show the desire to embrace changes and become more proactive. Employee empowerment creates employees who are more invested in the organization and its success.

Organizations have started realizing the importance of allowing employees to make independent decisions and act on them. They are realizing that employee empowerment leads to a high-impact learning culture and that organizations with a strong learning culture are 92% more likely to develop loyal products and processes. Such organizations are 52% more productive, 56% more likely to be the first to market with their products and services, and 17% more profitable than their peers. Their engagement and retention rates are also 30–50% higher.

Employees today are placing a higher premium on flexibility, creativity, and purpose at work.

For organizations, employee empowerment means allowing employees to contribute more to the running of their businesses. Employee empowerment increases the employees’ sense of responsibility, enhances their morale and improves the quality of the work product.

Therefore, employee empathy, engagement and empowerment are the need of an hour across the organizations and companies with diverse work cultures and especially post-pandemic has urged the need for employee wellbeing and sense of belongingness to all of us in this VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) world.

Shrestha is Cluster Director Learning & Development at Kathmandu Marriott Hotels.

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top