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The State of Workplace EmpathyThe past few years have brought an increased focus on diversity in the workplace. From the call for equal gender pay to an intolerance for prejudice in the hiring process, there has never been a stronger push to create a more inclusive and diverse workplace.

In reviewing a sample of Fortune 500 companies from 2017, only 2 percent of CEOs were African-American, and only 3 percent were Latino. Furthermore, of the 500 companies on Fortune’s famous list, 400 share no data at all about the diversity of their workforce, including at different job levels and in management. This suggests that firms could place greater emphasis on how they demonstrate diversity.

First things first, genuine diversity involves many factors. It means inclusiveness based on race, gender, age, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, and more. A diverse employee population leads to a stronger workforce with differing viewpoints and opinions to build a more holistic organization that understands a wide range of voices. While there is a call across the nation for organizations to take a long, hard look at hiring processes to increase diversity, it needs to start at the top.

In addition to a stronger workforce, our 2018 State of the Workplace Empathy study research showed that 91 percent of minority respondents believe increased diversity in leadership would lead to a more empathetic organization. In fact, all respondents across job titles, ages and genders agreed with this statement in large numbers. Furthermore, over 90 percent of employees, HR professionals and CEOs rate female employees as more empathetic. It’s clear that diversity leads to a more empathetic organization, which is a win for all those involved.

Here are three ways your team can champion and implement a diverse leadership team: 

  1. Don’t settle. While it may take a bit more effort, when creating a shortlist of candidates for an open position, do not settle. Ensure that your list includes a diverse set of individuals, whether that is based on race, age, gender, or more, for the most well-rounded approach to hiring. Additionally, understand that a diverse leadership team leads to new networks to recruit from.
  2. Get everyone involved. Don’t leave hiring a diverse team to a select few—instead, involve employees from all background to recruit and foster leadership. For example, have men get involved in initiatives to recruit more women for leadership positions. This leads to a more inclusive workplace where everyone is working towards a common goal.
  3. Don’t stop at recruitment. In addition to hiring practices that value diverse backgrounds and skill sets, companies must work towards the goal of representative leadership in their retention and mentoring efforts. Management must make it a priority to develop the leadership skills of all their employees, and actively encourage mentoring and advancement of women and minorities, as well as older and younger workers.

Want to learn more about building an empathetic organization? Read more about our 2018 State of Workplace Empathy study and join us on social media with #EmpathyatWork. 

View the 2018 State of Workplace Empathy Executive Summary

Rae Shanahan

Written by Rae Shanahan

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