Today's Workplace Needs Compassion and Love

Joe Weinlick
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Company culture is more than just the clothes employees wear, the office setup, shared intellectual values and a dedication to the company mission. Company culture also encompasses the emotional culture of your organization, and research by Sigal Barsade, management professor at The Wharton School, shows that compassion and love in the workplace influence both employee well-being and business success. Cultivate workplace compassion in your organization to enjoy more committed employees and better satisfied customers.

Start at the Beginning

Begin the process of developing a better emotional culture by focusing on your hiring process. Do you treat job candidates respectfully? Create a welcoming atmosphere at job interviews. Let job candidates know you are on their side and you care about them as persons even if they don't end up being the best fit for the job.

Set an Example

Start moving your workplace toward a more compassionate culture by expressing care for the other employees in your organization. Even if you don't set the policies, your own personal example of showing affection and concern encourages others to be more loving at work. Focus on positive emotions, such as joy and pride, instead of negative emotions, such as anger and disappointment. When someone has a setback, avoid behavior that pushes that person away. Instead show empathy to grow a deeper connection, helping the person move past the problem area to do better in the future.

Improve Your Training

Any time you set out to change your company culture, you need to get your managers on board. This is especially true when it comes to changing the emotional culture of your workplace. Provide your management team with research and examples showing how a better emotional culture improves worker performance. If your current culture tends to angry outbursts or heavy competition, you may want to bring in an outside company to provide training on building a better emotional climate. Remember to include follow-up sessions to further emphasize the importance of workplace compassion and the skills necessary to implement it.

Update Policies

Consider adding a statement about love, compassion or caring to your company values statement. Putting it in writing lays the foundation for positive changes throughout all of your company's policies. Make sure that official policies support employees facing health issues, death or other family crises. Encourage nonofficial practices that also show compassion. For example, praise employees for helping each other out, especially when someone is going through a hard time. Improve your emotional culture by having managers respond with compassion quickly when employees experience a death in the family or a serious illness.

Your company's emotional culture impacts employee satisfaction, teamwork, innovation and overall performance. Mold your company culture to create a more positive emotional climate by getting management on board, improving your training, and integrating love and compassion into your company policies.

Photo courtesy of Sira Anamwong at


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