Organizational culture has never been more important than it is now – with various business and employee challenges brought on by the unanticipated crisis we’ve been living through in 2020.

Franco is anchored in six core values, and we’ve been dedicated to living by them as a commitment to our culture, even though we aren’t physically working together right now. Our core values include: Courageous Truth, Empathy, Family+Team+Community, Forward Motion, Opportunity and Persistence. These values are crucial to our team’s success, particularly now, because most (if not all) of our interactions are virtual. However, we still value and want to foster personal connections.

In this post, we’ll focus on empathy, which is key for successful organizational relationships at all levels.

The need for empathy in the workplace is apparent. According to Businessolver’s 2020 State of Workplace Empathy study, more than 90% of employees, HR professionals and CEOs said empathy is important, every year since 2017, and 76% of those surveyed say empathy drives greater productivity.

Additionally, Mark Lobosco, vice president of talent solutions at LinkedIn, said: “Empathy will reshape the way employers hire and retain talent. Instead of putting shareholder value over all … a company’s purpose now includes investing in employees. Companies are becoming more empathetic not only to attract candidates, but also to retain their workforce amid increasing expectations of what employers owe to their people.”

What Empathy Means at Franco

Our definition of empathy is the ability to listen and consider others’ thoughts and feelings (appreciating their perspective) before passing judgement or acting. This approach has allowed us to foster stronger relationships with one another as a Franco family and create impactful connections with our clients.

Examples of empathy in action include:

  • We’re always focused on the reflection of our work. We prioritize having healthy conversations about what’s going well and where we need to improve as part of our culture. With empathy, we can engage in active listening and withhold judgement to truly hear what one another is saying.
  • This pandemic has tested our emotional health and wellbeing. Our team has had frank conversations about our feelings and how we’re weathering this storm. We’ve built a culture where we’re comfortable sharing if we’re struggling, and we support each other with ideas and tips to help.
  • Empathy helps us focus on listening. It forces us to reflect on our actions and words and it brings us closer together. We view ourselves as a family because we prioritize empathy and value our relationships with each other.

How Empathy Can Play a Role in Your Organization

  • Seek to understand before being understood. This is all about listening – active listening instead of thinking about what you’ll say next. Your team must listen to one another fully to communicate more effectively.
  • Respect. Everyone who works together must commit to respecting each other. Showing respect starts with listening.
  • Attentiveness and patience. If your team can commit to being organized and prioritizing attentive communication with one another, this can work wonders for efficiency. By having the patience to truly listen to others, empathy can grow beautifully.

How to Put Empathy Into Practice

  • Survey employees. Consider surveying your team to understand their personal values to align them best with the organization’s culture. This survey should be anonymous and can ask questions like, “What do you value most out of a team member?” or “Do you find that the team demonstrates empathy each day?” or “If you could simplify our culture into five words or less what would those words be?”
  • Update values/mission. Based on the survey feedback you receive, consider updating your values to more accurately reflect what’s important to your team. The more specific the better!
  • Practice daily. Empathy is hard, but practice leads to improvement. Try every day to give yourself and others grace and prioritize empathy in all your communications.

Learn more about working at Franco.

Megan Bonelli is an Account Supervisor at Franco. Connect with her on LinkedIn.