Empathetic leadership improves workers' work-life balance

Workers undergoing heightened stress, burnout, lack of trust in employers, finds global report

Empathetic leadership improves workers' work-life balance

There is a lot to gain for employers who show empathetic leadership to their workers, according to a recent Dayforce report.

Among workers who say their organization does not empathize with employees, 90 per cent believe having leaders show more empathy would make a positive difference in their work life.

This includes improving their job satisfaction (52 per cent), improving their job performance (39 per cent), increasing their productivity (37 per cent), improving mental health/levels of burnout (48 per cent) and making them more loyal (41 per cent).

However, less than half (48 per cent) of workers say their organization empathizes with employees.

Nearly nine in 10 (87 per cent) employees believe that leaders who practice genuine empathy can positively influence employees' mental health and overall wellbeing, according to a previous report from Ernst & Young (EY).

Increased levels of stress, burnout

Empathetic leadership appears to be more important today as the changes in the world of work are negatively impacting workers, according to Dayforce’s survey of 8,751 respondents from across eight countries, including Canada.

Currently, 70 per cent of workers say more aggressive performance goals/targets have increased stress levels. And when they don’t reach performance goals, 43 per cent say it causes them to lose motivation.

More than 8 in 10 (81 per cent) respondents say they experienced burnout in the previous 12 months, and 69 per cent are considering leaving their current employment.

Over nine in 10 (91 per cent) of respondents say employers can take actions to help increase their productivity. These actions include creating better work-life balance (37 per cent), hiring more people on their team (32 per cent), skills development (29 per cent) and more flexible work schedules (29 per cent).

However, just 56 per cent of workers say they trust their employers, and only 55 per cent say their employers trust their employees.

A previous report found that 92 per cent of CEOs view their HR professionals as empathetic, a 27-point jump from 2022. On the other hand, just 68 per cent of HR professionals view their CEO as empathetic, a 16-point decline from 2022.

Demonstrating empathetic leadership in 2024

Here’s how leaders can demonstrate empathy to their workers this year, as Rachel Wells, CEO of Rachel Wells Coaching, shared via Forbes:

  1. Employ active listening.
  2. Imagine yourself in workers’ shoes for a minute.
  3. Think holistically about steps you can take to actively support your team members, relevant to their individual circumstances and performance levels.
  4. Communicate empathy verbally.
  5. Promote work-life balance.

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