Businessolver Blog

How Empathy Can Shatter the Glass Ceiling

How Empathy Can Shatter the Glass Ceiling
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2018 by Rae Shanahan

While American organizations have made great strides in creating more empathetic work environments, a study reveals there is a significant gap in how men and women view the issue.


Beyond the #MeToo movement, beyond the #TimesUp movement, employers are keenly aware of the need to create equitable workplaces where women, men, and teams can work together toward common goals — workplaces that operate on mutual respect and understanding. One way to get there is by fostering and practicing empathy.

Not only is this the right thing to do, but financial performance is at risk. According to our third annual State of Workplace Empathy study, 87 percent of CEOs believe their bottom line is tied to workplace empathy.

This is compounded by a very competitive human capital environment. With the lowest unemployment rate in nearly 50 years and a skilled labor shortage, employees have the advantage.

Finding top talent has always been challenging. But with half of U.S. employees actively looking for a job, the bigger question may be one of retention, especially when it comes to empathy. Nine out of 10 employees say they are more likely to stay with an empathetic organization and 83 percent would switch companies for equal pay with a more empathetic employer.

Clearly, your employees’ perception of how empathetic you are weighs heavily on their decision to stick around. But how much does employee gender factor into the way you are perceived? We were curious, too.

When we parsed out the data by gender, we uncovered five important themes related in the way men and women view employer empathy. They are:

  1. The business imperative is urgent.
  2. Empathy is improving, but unevenly.
  3. Empathetic behaviors are not created equal.
  4. Women carry the empathy mantle…
  5. …But men show a greater interest in improvement.

How wide is the empathy gender gap within each of these themes? You can find out in our new e-book, How Empathy Can Help Shatter the Glass Ceiling. You’ll also learn how you can improve empathy within your organization in ways that matter to both male and female employees.