Businessolver Finds Workplaces Still Lack Empathy

HR technology leader releases findings of second annual Workplace Empathy Monitor.

Businessolver, a leader in SaaS-based benefits administration technology, today released data that shows American workplaces severely lack empathy, even though a culture of empathy improves employee retention and productivity. The conclusions are from the 2017 Businessolver Workplace Empathy Monitor, an industry-first study of workplace empathy. Released today, the findings reveal that only 49 percent of U.S. employees rate organizations as empathetic. Further, 85 percent believe empathy is undervalued by U.S. businesses, a 5 percent increase from the 2016 data.

While empathy may be challenging to exhibit, business health depends on it, Businessolver finds. The Workplace Empathy Monitor reveals that empathy can foster retention and drive productivity: 77 percent of employees say they’d work longer hours for an empathetic employer, and 60 percent say they would take a lower salary from an empathetic employer. Empathy is particularly critical to Millennials: nearly 80 percent say they would change jobs if their current employer became less empathetic, compared to 66 percent of Baby Boomers.

These findings are just a few slices of the data from the second annual 2017 Workplace Empathy Monitor, a study of nearly 2,000 U.S. employees, HR professionals, and CEOs. The research is the first of its kind in the HR industry, a profession that employees rate as the most capable and effective at driving empathy in the workplace.

“Empathy is a guiding principle for Businessolver. We’re committed to continuing the conversation about why it’s critical in the workplace, and uncovering solutions that can help organizations make it a part of their culture,” said Jon Shanahan, Businessolver President and CEO.

While the “empathy gap” – the difference between CEO and employee perception of empathy in the workplace – is basically flat from 2016, more than 9 in 10 employees in the 2017 study feel that empathy is important. That high percentage holds even when examined across generation, gender, industry type, and business size.

The persistent empathy gap naturally leads to the question: Why haven’t U.S. organizations been able to close it? According to the Businessolver Workplace Empathy Monitor, the gap remains wide because:


  • Empathy is difficult … Two-thirds of respondents agree that practicing empathy at their organization is “hard work” for most people.
  • … especially for CEOs. Two-thirds of CEOs admit that empathy is a weakness in themselves, and they struggle to gain high marks on empathy from employees as well, ranking only slightly above corporate America.

“Empathy is essential to leading and managing others, but to reap its full benefits, leaders must…

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