Empathy & Recognition Lead to Workplace Oasis

Our team at All Star Marketing is observing what we call Empathy Excellence Week, a celebration that is clearly focused on fostering a culture of empathy and understanding in the workplace.


This idea is about dedicating a time in an organization to prioritize and enhance relationships, promote compassion, and recognize the significance of empathetic leadership. Ultimately, creating a more supportive and connected work environment for all employees is not only worthy, but often imperative.


Why is this important? Our tumultuous environment — the pandemic, the economy, wars around the globe, divisive politics, the changing nature of work, and personal stress and uncertainty — generates a wild mix of emotions in everyone.  The workplace is needed, now more than ever, to serve as an oasis against the daily chaos.


And it’s these emotions that undoubtedly have an impact on a person’s engagement at work. Just look at a recent Gallup study that showed employee engagement has dropped over the last several years to 32%, with as much as 17% of a company’s employees actively disengaged.


To address this issue, many organizations realize that they need to prioritize caring for their employees. But despite innumerable well-intended efforts, a Deloitte survey of 1,000 professionals found that we’re still missing the mark. Plainly stated, the top driver of burnout is a lack of support or recognition from leadership.


A simple but powerful way to connect with and care for employees is to start by recognizing the role their emotions play at work, especially negative ones. Research shows that identifying or recognizing others’ emotions builds trust.


Employees who believe their organizations, and especially their managers, are empathic tend to call in sick with stress-related illnesses less often. They also report less burnout and better mental health, higher morale and a greater intent to stay at their organizations. People who feel cared about also innovate more and take creative risks.


Most importantly, we have found a direct correlation between empathic practices and the quality of an organization’s recognition and reward systems. All Star provides a variety of options for employees to feel appreciated and valued. Included in our mix of benefits are summer hours, walking challenges, a robust Employee Assistance Program, which provides counseling and coaching, and discounts on memberships to local establishments. Lisa Noonan, Director of Human Resources at All Star states that  “Having a variety of benefits is important, since not every employee places the same value on each benefit.  Managers, by actively listening and sincerely practicing empathy with their team members, are better able to identify what kinds of recognition and rewards would be most appropriate and effective for individuals by understanding better their personal aspirations and challenges.”


For example, knowing that a person is keenly interested in improving their golf swing or tennis stroke could be rewarded with new sports gear, or awarding that cooking hobbyist with kitchen appliances, utensils, and lessons can go a tremendous way in building mutual respect and trust, leading to improved performance on the job.


What we’re really focused on is the need to tailor recognition to an individual, whether it’s their interest in physical activity or an activity for their mental well-being. Personal connection and care is not just some “program” it’s the presence of an empathic relationship.


Together this powerful combination of truly empathic practices and individually-selected rewards and recognition shows the recipient that “I truly care about you.”


Our team of experts at All Star Incentive Marketing understands the sheer power of personalized recognition and rewards and are eager to share their experiences with you. Contact us to learn more.



Brian Galonek


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