- Systematize Empathy and Compassion. Data suggest that businesses centered around empathy, compassion, collaboration, and authenticity have higher employee retention, more robust employee engagement, and even greater profits over time. Empathy and compassion are non-negotiables and loving work environments look at how employees are empathetic and compassionate with each other and how systems and policies are built to consider, acknowledge, and respond to people’s emotions and suffering.
- Express Gratitude & Appreciation Generously. Gratitude increases feelings of optimism, relaxation, joy, and purpose and is shown to reduce unproductive, unpleasant, or toxic emotions for everyone at a company. Therefore, loving work environments have cultures, systems, and policies that encourage and permit gratitude to be expressed regularly and authentically on individual and collective levels and between workers at all levels of the company hierarchy.
- Give Feedback, Not Criticism. Loving workplaces normalize the experience of giving and receiving feedback and ensure that everyone has the tools, mindsets, and buy-in to participate in the feedback culture. These workplaces have strong norms around how feedback is given, have systems for giving both positive and constructive feedback, and have leaders who provide feedback to support and enhance the effectiveness, impact, and performance of others (rather than demoralize or condemn).
- Heal Relationships Over Fixing Problems. We often immediately shift into problem-solving and damage control when something goes wrong. Loving workplaces understand that when a mistake has been made, when conflict is brewing, or when a problem arises, relationships between human beings are almost always affected. In the wake of a crisis, focusing on restoring and healing relationships is frequently more powerful than dwelling on the problem itself. This means shifting from blame, fear, and competition to empathy, compassion, and forgiveness.
- See Humans, Not Assets or Resources. Every person we encounter at work is a human being with a story, real emotions, inherent gifts and strengths, flaws and imperfections, and natural human needs. Loving workplaces give space for employees to get to know the stories of their coworkers, acknowledge and validate feelings even when they are unpleasant or uncomfortable, react with empathy and compassion when people inevitably make mistakes and make it clear that every person matters, not just for what they do but also for who they are. Leaders must also work to disrupt company policies or systems that dehumanize staff.
Schedule a connection call with us if you could use help to make your work environment more loving! We'd love to be your partner in fostering compassion at work.
Contributed by Marissa Badgley, MSW, Founder of Reloveution