How Leaders Can Use Marketing for Empathetic Communication

By Madison Taylor
September 27, 2022
Business professionals smiling at speaker

The importance and necessity of empathetic communication has only increased recently, especially with many working remotely. Digital communications, such as videos, social media posts, and emails, require more thought in regard to how employees may perceive and react to them.

Leaders who communicate using empathy and action to mitigate potential situations or provide comfort create more optimal working environments.

Empathic Communication Is a Critical Leadership Skill

Influential leaders must have a wide variety of skills to foster effective communication. However, research suggests that empathy is the most crucial leadership skill overall. Indeed, empathic communication is beneficial for building lasting relationships. In addition, research also indicates that showing empathy in business communication is helpful for innovation and retention. Communicating empathy in business is vital because workers have been experiencing elevated stress levels since the outbreak of COVID-19.

A recent study by Catalyst looked at how practicing empathy in business communication can have constructive effects. Some of the critical areas that were impacted by empathic leadership were innovation, engagement, retention, inclusivity, and work-life balance.

  • Innovation: 61% of employees reported that they were able to be more innovative under empathetic leaders.
  • Engagement: 76% of employees reported they were more engaged in their work if they had received empathy from leadership.
  • Retention: 62% of women of color said they were unlikely to think about leaving their company if they felt valued and respected by leadership. In addition, 57% of white women said they were unlikely to think about leaving their company if they were shown empathy by leadership.
  • Inclusivity: 50% of employees felt their workplace was more inclusive under empathetic leadership.
  • Work-life Balance: 86% of employees reported feeling they had a better work-life balance under leadership that practiced empathetic communication.

Four Ways Leaders Can Implement Empathy in Business Communication

Based on the findings of these studies, it’s clear that practicing empathy in business communication can foster various benefits. These are the four key ways leaders can implement empathic communication into their business operations.

  1. Listen: Leaders looking to foster empathy in business communication must first learn to listen to their employees. When it comes to effective communication, listening is just as essential, if not more important, than speaking. Just taking a few minutes to listen to employee concerns or struggles goes a long way in showing empathy.
  2. Acknowledge: Along with listening to the struggles that employees are dealing with, it’s essential to acknowledge what they are going through. Expressions of acknowledgment can be as simple as saying, “Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I am now aware of the situation, and I will be looking to find a solution.” When employees feel heard and respected, they are more likely to stay engaged in their work despite difficulties.
  3. Care: Showing care also goes hand-in-hand with communicating with empathy. Leaders should express authentic feelings of how much they care about how their employees are affected by challenges. This goes a long way in making employees feel valued and respected in their work environment. Showing care can be expressed simply by saying, “I’m very concerned about how many employees have expressed burnout. I am looking for ways to help foster a better work-life balance for everyone in the organization.”
  4. Take Action: The final key element of empathic communication is taking action. While it’s essential to convey that solutions are being looked for at the touchpoints of listening, acknowledging, and showing care, it’s critical that action is being taken. If false promises are continually given to employees, morale will likely decline quickly.

Empathy in Business Communication Is a Must

Overall, communicating empathy as a leader requires the ability to acknowledge the feelings of sadness, frustration, and anxiety among employees. Along with acknowledging these feelings, leaders must be willing to find solutions to help alleviate the struggles that their employees are enduring. In addition, empathetic communication should be able to be heard, read, and seen by all employees within the organization.

Combining these elements will create a work environment where engagement, innovation, retention, and profits are continually rising. Plus, employees who appreciate working for an empathetic employer may also use empathy towards their fellow employees and even their employer, making for a productive and dynamic workplace for all.