The Business Case for Empathy with Liesel Mertes

by | Jan 27, 2022 | Podcast, Workplace Forward


Amid a global pandemic, empathy in the workplace has become a popular topic. But is it just a PR thing? Or does empathy really impact the bottom line?

According to social science data, demonstrating empathy at work does matter. So, what is the business case for empathy?

Liesel Mertes is an acclaimed workplace empathy expert with a deep understanding of what employees need to feel supported at work after a disruptive life event. She has developed trainings and talks around issues such as loss, returning to work, compassion fatigue, cultivating resilience and the brain science of empathy.

Liesel founded Handle with Care to help forward-thinking organizations boost employee engagement and attract and retain better talent, and she is committed to helping people survive, stabilize and thrive in the aftermath of adversity. Liesel is also the host of the Handle with Care: Empathy in the Workplace Podcast.

On this episode of Workplace Forward, Liesel joins me to define empathy and explain why it’s crucial in the workplace right now, challenging leaders to view empathy as a skill rather than a fixed personality trait.

She offers insight on the brain science behind empathy in the workplace and describes what gets in the way of leaders and teams demonstrating empathy well.

Listen in for Liesel’s insight around how empathy impacts productivity and get her simple tips for practicing empathy in the workplace straight away.

Themes explored in this week’s episode:

  • How Liesel defines empathy and why it should lead to compassionate action
  • Why empathy is crucial in the workplace right now
  • What makes empathy a skill rather than a fixed personality trait
  • How empathy impacts the bottom line, i.e.: productivity and talent retention
  • The brain science behind empathy and how it helps people work effectively through disruptive life events
  • Liesel’s insight around the grief we’ve all experienced the last 2 years (and why leaders need empathy reciprocated to them)
  • Why it’s important to understand our feelings and how Liesel helps clients acknowledge and name their emotional experiences
  • Why leaders should continue to display care even if team members don’t respond
  • What gets in the way of leaders and teams demonstrating empathy well
  • Liesel’s tips around how to start practicing empathy right away (and what clichés to avoid)
  • How to build care and intention into your calendar

Resources from this episode:

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