Understanding Empathy in the Workplace

An empathetic workforce is a productive workforce. According to Businessolver’s 2017 Workplace Empathy Monitor report, empathy has a direct impact on employee productivity, loyalty, and engagement. Seventy-seven percent of workers would be willing to work more hours for a more empathetic workplace; meanwhile, 60% would actually accept a reduced salary for a more empathetic workplace. Simply put, empathy is the ability to step into someone else’s shoes, be aware of their feelings and understand their needs. It is the ability to experience and relate to the thoughts, emotions or experience of others. Empathy is more than just sympathy, which is being able to understand and support others with compassion or sensitivity. Given that one-in-three workers would leave their companies for a more compassionate environment, there’s a major incentive for companies to emphasize an empathetic work culture. Empathy requires individuals to take the initiative to get closer to their coworkers. That initiative doesn’t come out of thin air: a compassionate workplace requires a conscious, organization-wide effort from the leadership team to the individuals working throughout the company. Claiming to be a “good listener” isn’t enough in a world where 30% of employees feel their opinions don’t matter, you must demonstrate it. Listening isn’t just hearing words but seeking to understand. Watching is also critical to building your ability to empathize with other people, body language can often tell you more about what people think and feel than their words can. Demonstrating empathy takes time and effort to show awareness and understanding. Being empathetic allows leaders to help struggling employees improve and find their strengths, a leader can show empathy by using direct eye contact while talking and sitting in a comfortable setting versus across a room or behind an imposing desk.  As you become more proficient at understanding your own feelings, you’ll get better at understanding the feelings of the people around you. When you understand your team, you have a better idea of the challenges ahead of you. When you stop and think, “How am I feeling” right after you receive a new, huge assignment?” and the answer is, “excited and overwhelmed,” then you can apply that to others around you. Eighty-seven percent of CEOs see a direct link between workplace empathy and business performance, productivity, retention, and general business health. In the workplace, empathy can show deep respect for co-workers and show that you care, as opposed to just going by rules and regulations. Your tone of voice and speaking with one another instead of communicating almost exclusively by email, text, Slack, or other messaging services can help you build empathy. This is because you understand what your coworker thinks and feels, or at least you understand their feelings. Additionally, using video conferencing instead of just teleconferencing can help you watch and listen to your colleagues. Some people resist the idea of video conferencing because they don’t feel comfortable on camera. That’s understandable, but that discomfort can help everyone understand each other better. You can’t push people to open up about their feelings and run when they do. That behavior makes for a less pleasant, empathetic workplace. But, when you take personal responsibility to better understand your coworkers, your company ultimately reaps the rewards. Eighty-seven percent of CEOs believe a company’s financial performance is tied to empathy in the workplace, as do 79% of HR professionals. An empathy index published in the Harvard Business Review found that the 10 most empathetic companies increased in value more than twice as much as those at the bottom of the index and they generated 50% more earnings defined by market capitalization, from one year to the next. According to Linda Saxl Minton, “Companies that have the ability to listen, to be empathetic, may make better business partners which could lead to higher revenues”, and in fact concurring with her point, 42% of consumers would refuse to buy from a company that they don’t believe to be empathetic according to Businessolver. Overall, when you use empathy in the workplace, you can understand your coworkers better. And that’s great for any business.


Author: Bobby Cottingham











Quality Summit to Increase Quality Care

The US Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan announced the formation of the Quality Summit in order to bring together key industry stakeholders and government leader to discuss how current quality programs can be further evaluated and improved upon. Recently the President has signed the Improving Price and Quality Transparency in American Healthcare to Put Patient’s First Executive Order. This is to direct federal agencies to develop a Health Quality Roadmap that aims to align and improve reporting on data and quality measure across many federal health programs. There has been a slight improvement over the years regarding HHS quality programs but the many programs have not been evaluated since their inception. The Summit will be chaired by Deputy Secretary Hargan and Peter Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D., an internationally renowned expert on healthcare quality and patient safety. Participants of the Summit are mostly comprised of government stakeholders and approximately 15 non-government healthcare industry leaders who will offer critical insight into discussion pertaining to the modernization of HHS’s quality and access to care. They will also identify regulations and mechanisms that need to be overhauled in order to improve the provider’s ability to deliver high-quality care to patients. This Summit marks the start of a new initiative that could potentially change the current HHS Quality Programs. The changes that can be enacted during this summit could potentially produce more jobs and contracts for small businesses. However, on the flip side, this could also reduce opportunities as well since this could cut jobs and contracts that are inefficient/non-beneficial for the programs. Whatever the case there is definitely change on the horizon, whether it would affect us negatively or positively only time will tell.

HHS will accept nominations for participants beginning on Tuesday, July 9, 2019, and ending on Wednesday, July 31, 2019. Nominations should consist of a one-page cover letter summarizing an applicant’s qualifications along with an applicant’s resume or CV. Nominations must be submitted via e-mail to DeputySecretary@hhs.gov with the subject line: “Quality Summit Application.”

Author: Larry Pan

Link: https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2019/07/09/hhs-announces-quality-summit-streamline-improve-quality-programs-government.html

The Importance of Strong Communication in the Workplace and How to Improve Your Own

Effective communication practices can help a business reach its goal of increased productivity.

It is important to recognize the status of how open and fluid communication from employee to employee and employee to customer are within your workplace. A lack of communication creates misunderstandings, conflict and gaps in task and projects. In fact, research by US firm Gartner shows a whopping 70% of business mistakes are due to poor communication. Strong communication improves team building, boosts company growth, and increases innovation. As Cisco managing director Alex Goryachev writes on Forbes: ‘People listen mostly to respond rather than to understand. However, digitization demands active listening to the ecosystem in order to survive and develop collaborative strategies with startups, partners and customers around the world’. Companies with good communication practices encourage employees to speak up and employees tend to feel more comfortable in these settings. You never know the hidden talents of your employees or fellow co-workers until you communicate with them. The best companies don’t wait until disaster strikes to start communicating. If the company’s been honest and communicating effectively all along, they have a valuable reservoir of trust built up. At Sabre88 we have lunch meetings with the whole back office staff bi-weekly where we get to chat and get to know our co-workers a little more. Effective, honest communication can bind employees together. If the staff is talking with each other on the job, it is a strong indication you are building a good team. Employees who look forward to talking with their colleagues are more enthused about coming to work, and more willing to participate in group projects. According to a Watson Wyatt study, companies that communicate the most effectively are 50% more likely to report low turnover levels compared with the industry average. With the right communication applications, a leader can influence initiative buy-in from their team. Additionally, building strong communication with coworkers gives a leader more information about their employees, and often information they would have otherwise overlooked. This information can help a leader make more strategic decisions on delegation, employee development, team development, and strategic initiatives to drive business success.

If you think your company’s communication status is lacking or not where you want it to be, don’t be discouraged. There are many methods in which a team can strengthen their co-operative communication. Here are some of the best methods for strengthening team communication that may prove useful to you.

  • Feel out the other person’s preferred communication style:

Maybe some of your team members are rarely on their email, whereas others respond to emails instantly. Some prefer in-person communication while others feel more comfortable calling into the video conference, are comfortable How do your employees and teammates communicate on projects best? Do they prefer email, in-person chats, or phone calls? You can learn this by asking them directly and also through observation.

  • Keep workflows transparent:

If your team is working on a big project together. Is everything clear? Does the entire team know the project’s deadline, individual responsibilities, and when they’re expected to hand those parts off to other teammates?

  • Set up Weekly or Monthly 1:1s:

By setting up a recurring meeting to touch base with coworkers, you’ll learn more about the inner workings of what’s going on the office and have a better idea on how to avoid misconceptions

  • Stay Consistent with Expectations and Follow up:

It’s easy to forget about regular check-ins when work gets busy, but it’s one of the best ways to maintain effective workplace communication. Consistency creates clarity.

  • Offer Constructive Feedback in a Thoughtful Way.

Focus on the subject of improvement, not the individual’s character. Always, always give the other person an opportunity to share their thoughts and contribute to building a positive process moving forward

  • Offer Compliments in a Thoughtful way:

If you tell an employee they did a great job, the compliment isn’t as helpful as you think. They may be left thinking, “But what was great about it? How can I replicate it if I don’t know?” Be specific instead — “You did a great job researching the contracting agency and taking valuable notes that will be used later.

  • Follow Up in Writing:

No matter how compelling your meeting was, it’s probable that those in attendance will not remember everything that was shared. Prior to the meeting, designate a person to take notes. Assimilate this information into a bullet-pointed email to send to your team as a follow-up and refresher. Short, concise notes will keep important information fresh in people’s minds.

  • Define Goals and Expectations:

Deliver clear, achievable goals to both teams and individuals, outlining exactly what is required on any given project, and ensuring that all staff is aware of the objectives of the project, the department and the organization as a whole.

  • Explain why you’re Asking your Employee or Coworker to do Something:

By doing so, you’re offering vital information and the opportunity to ask questions they may have hesitated to communicate otherwise. Perhaps more importantly, you’re also showing the employee how their work ties directly to business goals.

  • Take Time to Listen:

Don’t dominate the conversation. After a while, Attention spans will wear thin. Be impactful with your words. Pause after important points to take questions or check for understanding. This will help your coworkers feel that they play an active role in the conversation.

Teamwork makes the dream work.

Author: Bobby Cottingham

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Happy Independence Day!

As the Fourth of July approaches, let us take a moment to consider the significance of the events in which we are celebrating, and reflect on a bit of the history. Aptly named, July 4th is also known as Independence Day, for it is the day in 1776 that the Declaration of Independence was finally approved by Congress, signifying the beginning of our great nation and the end of our governance by the British.

This year in Washington at the president’s inaugural July 4th “Salute to America” on the National Mall, two pyrotechnic companies, Phantom Fireworks and New York-based Fireworks by Grucci, have pledged to put on the largest fireworks display ever seen in the D.C. area. The spectacle is promised to be a sight to be remembered.

Founding Father John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail on July 2, 1776, stating that Independence Day, “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and that the celebration should include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.” With this context, it does seem fitting that our nation’s capital is set to unleash a firework display for the ages. John Adams would have it no other way, but let’s leave the guns at home.

Around the country, millions of Americans will be making their way to celebrate freedom with friends and family. As John Adams predicted, we still celebrate this day with “pomp and parade…from one end of the continent to the other.” Barbequing is a huge national tradition. It is estimated that approximately 150 million hot dogs and 700 million pounds are consumed on July 4th each year. No matter what the activity or the type of food, the Fourth of July is most prevalently celebrated by spending time with loved ones in fellowship; gatherings of all race, gender, and religious backgrounds.

This Independence Day, take a moment between the fun and fireworks to think about how truly remarkable this day in history was, and take in the realization of how fortunate we are as a society. Many Americans went to great lengths to ensure that we could live in this great and proud country, in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The Sabre88 family wishes you all a very safe and happy Independence Day!