Caroline Cotto, culture content creator at HubSpot, writes at Fast Company about how her organization trains employees to be more empathetic, likening it to how athletes build strength though steady, diligent exercise. HubSpot’s empathy-building program begins with measurement, having employees take a quiz based on the Toronto Empathy Questionnaire and providing tailored resources to them based on their results. The inbound marketing and sales software company then uses several techniques to encourage employees to see the world through their colleagues’ eyes, including storytelling:
It’s not easy to train one person to be more empathetic, and it’s even more difficult to do the same for 2,000 coworkers across seven global offices. As we contemplated empathy building at scale, we decided to host “Humans of HubSpot,” a live storytelling show focused on sharing personal anecdotes, which conventional office settings might not always leave room for.
Drawing inspiration from NPR’s The Moth, employees share stories about their own lives and identities. This kind of unfettered vulnerability breeds trust between colleagues, and trust is what ultimately drives results. As it turns out, we’re not the only one preaching the power of storytelling to build a more empathetic work culture. Our event has already inspired other companies, like Wistia, to start storytelling nights of their own.
HubSpot’s approach here is notable because one of the key benefits of empathy in the workplace is improved communication. Building empathy helps employees not only communicate with external stakeholders but also collaborate more effectively with their peers, which is increasingly important in today’s highly networked work environment.
In its latest move in the online recruiting space, Facebook announced last week that it was integrating with the job advertisement aggregator ZipRecruiter to increase the number of job listings available on its platform, TechCrunch’s Ingrid Lunden reported
Before now, companies that wanted to use Facebook for recruiting, adding job ads to their Pages, would have had to do this directly through Facebook itself. By partnering with ZipRecruiter and others like it, organizations will now be able to tick a box to broadcast the job add to Facebook among a wider mix of job boards that can be accessed through a one-stop shop — ZipRecruiter, as one example, covers hundreds of these boards. …
The move is interesting because it’s a sign not just of how Facebook is looking for more volume and usage of its jobs feature, but also the realization that it may not be able to achieve this on its own steam, leading to a more friction-free, user-friendly approach.
This is an interesting move for Facebook, as integrating a job listing aggregator allows them to edge further into LinkedIn’s territory and having users seamlessly interact with job opportunities seems like a natural next step to expand the platform. However, I think Facebook’s success as a recruiting platform will depend less on the volume of ads it hosts and more on how much it improves the recruiting experience for candidates.
Writing at Quartz, Christine Porath, a professor at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, points to a lack of civility and respect as the silent killer of workplace productivity today:
What are the costs of employees feeling disrespected? Over the past 20 years, I have researched this question. I’ve polled tens of thousands of workers worldwide about how they’re treated at work. Nearly half of those surveyed in 1998 reported they were treated rudely at least once a month, which rose to 55% in 2011 and 62% in 2016. Though the toll is sometimes hidden, the costs of incivility are tremendous.
Of the nearly 800 managers and employees across 17 industries Christine Pearson of the Thunderbird School of Global Management and I polled, those who didn’t feel respected performed worse. Forty-seven percent of those who were treated poorly intentionally decreased the time spent at work, and 38% said they deliberately decreased the quality of their work. Sixty-six percent reported their performance declined and 78% said their commitment to the organization had declined.
Incivility and disrespect affect performance in various ways, Porath elaborates, increasing stress and harming employees’ mental and even physical health. Even employees who are not themselves the victims of disrespectful behavior, they can lose time and energy to worrying about how to respond or whether they will become targets. Many of these employees leave their jobs, often without telling their managers why. Finally, an uncivil environment is toxic to collaboration.
Porath’s argument about the importance of respect is consistent with the findings of the latest Global Talent Monitor from CEB, now Gartner. This quarterly report provides workforce insights on global and country-level changes about what attracts, engages, and retains employees, based on data from more than 22,000 employees in over 40 countries. (CEB Corporate Leadership Council members can peruse the full set of insights from Global Talent Monitor.)
As part of our survey, we asked employees for the most important elements of the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that influenced their decision to accept their most recent job.
The latest American Working Conditions Survey from the RAND Corporation highlights the finding that most US retirees would take advantage of an opportunity to return to work, and that retirement-age employees opt to remain in the workforce not so much because they can’t afford to retire, but because they enjoy working—especially as they report having more meaningful work and more flexibility in their jobs than their younger co-workers. Steve Vernon explores the study’s findings at CBS Moneywatch:
The AWCS found that more than two-thirds of older men and women reported satisfaction with work well done and felt they were doing useful work. Prime-age women reported about the same level of satisfaction, but only a little more than half of prime-age men reported these same levels of satisfaction.
Older workers are also more likely than prime-age workers to say they apply their own ideas and solve unforeseen problems, and they’re less likely to report that they perform monotonous tasks. Older workers are also more likely to report workplace flexibility than their younger peers. College graduates in particular are more than twice as likely to determine their own work schedules as their younger counterparts are.
Older workers do also have practical rationales for delaying retirement, the survey found: Doing so allows them to delay when they start collecting Social Security benefits, which increases their expected lifetime payout. Older workers may also choose to stay at work for the health insurance benefits they receive from their employer, which reduce their out-of-pocket health care costs (the largest expense for retirees), or to participate in workplace wellness programs that help keep them in good health.