By Farhat Desai | Contributing Writer

Empathy is present in our lives, from being a part of our brain’s consciousness as a chemical process, to being developed by our upbringing and the challenges we face.

Empathy forces us to be proactive in our daily interactions. It unifies our relations from family to friendships to colleagues even to strangers by providing us a lens to view their problems, feelings, and emotions as our own. Thus creating a deeper understanding of one another as humans and helping break racial or socioeconomic or gender categories.

It even holds significance in major religious scripts, from the Bible to the Quran to the Bhagavad Gita; all major spiritual systems advocate its devotees to be more empathetic to fellow humans. The spiritual wisdom in these religions, exemplifies how empathy is an important universal standard that humans should abide by. A standard used in our daily interactions and transactions, even business.

Empathy in business enhances the corporate culture by creating a safe space for people to express their personal and work-related dilemmas. It creates a sense of unity between managers and employees. 

Making empathy a core corporate value can be an attractive feature to consumers, who might be willing to pay more for a service or product of a company because they believe in its ideology and all the good it is doing for the humanity.

For example, if a coffee company pays fair wages, creates safe working conditions and teaches the farmers lessons on sustainable agricultural methods, more people might invest in this company because of its empathetic business practices. 

In contrast, when United Airlines used brutal force towards a consumer to forcibly remove him from his seat, there was powerful backlash. It had a significant negative impact on their company’s stock. Consumers are willing to pay more knowing that employees and customers are treated with compassion and respect.

In a more spiritual sense, businesses practicing empathy towards employees is also contributing a positive energy and an image of how a business should be managed. Such practice also harbors a support system and a sense of unity for employees, suppliers, and shareholders involved.

Empathy also enhances business communication. If practiced with sincerity, it helps us see the dilemmas of others as our own. Expressing care for the employee or customer’s concerns speaks volumes on how the company conducts their business. 

Some ways to practice empathetic listening are: responding to the individual by his or her name, expressing active body language and observing other people’s body language. 

The act of empathetic listening is not practiced to simply listen for the sake of giving a premeditated response, but to actually comprehend what the person is saying. After which, one can make space for their opinions and allow oneself to change one’s perception to better assist the employee or customer, if necessary. 

As we lead busy lives, filled with its intricacies, we are not always aware of the struggles others face. Empathy increases that awareness and creates a profound bond between two humans. It increases gratitude and lessens our anxieties and depression; we understand that we are not alone. 

Such a practice can be financially viable for a business, but also be a meaningful example of compassion and empathy in the corporate world that is tumultuously changing. 

 

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