2024 State of Workplace Empathy

55% of CEOs Have Experienced a Mental Health Issue, Up 24 Points

Our ninth annual State of Workplace Empathy Study reveals 55% of CEOs and 50% of employees faced mental health issues in the past year, with Gen Z reporting the highest at 65%. Toxic workplaces may be a factor, with 52% of Gen Z and CEOs also reporting their workplaces are toxic. And while all audiences surveyed value empathy and view it as a key driver of business performance, real barriers persist to putting empathy into action—especially for 63% of CEOs who say it's hard to demonstrate empathy in their day-to-day.

What does it look like to put empathy into action at work? And why should today’s workplaces make empathy an organizational priority?

Click below to read Part 1 of the 2024 State of Workplace Empathy Report.

The Latest Pulse on Empathy

Featured on the "Empathy Edge"

Listen to Rae Shanahan, Businessolver's Chief Strategy Officer, and Maria Ross, host of "Empathy Edge", discuss how employers can leverage this year's Empathy data to close the gap with their employees.

Making Empathy Count Whitepaper Cover Image Link

Featured in "Empathy that Counts"

Rae Shanahan, Businessolver’s Chief Strategy Officer, contributed to the “Empathy that Counts” report, discussing the relevance and importance of empathy in today’s workplaces.

Empathy Under Pressure:
What’s Getting in the Way of Putting Empathy Into Action?

On paper, empathy is defined as "the ability to understand and/or experience the feelings of another." But in reality, empathy is a complex, multi-faceted term that holds different value for different people. This year, our data revealed that despite the high value everyone places on empathy, overall execution is low.

Here’s a Look at Some of Our Top Findings:

%
+24 points
from 2023
of CEOs have experienced a mental health issues

Mental Health Issues Persist Across U.S. Workforce

Employees, HR, and CEOs say they’ve experienced a mental health issue. But CEOs saw one of the most significant spikes in the nine years we’ve studied empathy and mental health: 55% of CEOs say they’ve experienced a mental health issue, +24 points from 2023.

Flexibility Tops the List of Empathetic Benefits, But Only 1 in 3 Employees Say They Have It

I took a $10,000 pay cut to take this job because of work from home.”

– Government employee interview, 2024 State of Workplace Empathy

Among employees’ top-ranked empathetic benefits they say support empathy and work-life balance, flexibility makes up half the list. Employees increasingly seek autonomy over their schedules, favoring flexible work hours (94%) and flexible locations (90%) as key empathetic benefits—even over annual compensation increases (88%).

%
Of employees increasingly seek autonomy over their schedules

Is Workplace Toxicity Perpetuating the Mental Health Stigma?

CEOs (81%), HR (72%), and employees (67%) agree or strongly agree that companies view someone with mental health issues as weak or a burden. This year’s findings suggest a strong correlation between workplace toxicity and mental health issues.

%
+8 points
from 2023
Empathy CEOs Icon
CEOs view someone with mental health issues as weak or a burden
%
-6 points
from 2023
Empathy HR Icon
HR professionals view someone with mental health issues as weak or a burden
%
+8 points
from 2023
Empathy Employees Icon
Employees view someone with mental health issues as weak or a burden

 

Additional Resources

2024 Mental Health Preview

This year's Empathy data reveals how workplace toxicity, stigma, and misaligned benefits have a profound impact on mental wellbeing in the workplace. Our findings suggest a strong link between mental health and workplace toxicity, resulting in a persistent mental health stigma.

2023 DEIB Special Report

This year's Empathy data revealed significant setbacks in DEIB efforts due to layoffs, inflation, and return to office. While there is a consensus among all surveyed groups about the importance of implementing DEIB initiatives, the visibility and action on the DEIB front have diminished.

2023 Empathetic Technology and Smarter Service Report

This year's State of Workplace Empathy underscored HR's burden and how many of these teams are reaching their breaking point. While each organization's needs are different, technology is often table stakes for driving consistency, efficiency, and success. An empathetic HR tech stack is key to reducing HR's administrative workload so they can dig deeper into their work as organizational strategists.

Previous Year's Reports

Report

2023 State of Workplace Empathy

HR is at their breaking point
Woman using laptop
Report

2022 State of Workplace Empathy

Regain momentum and build a culture of empathy
Woman typing on laptop
Report

2021 State of Workplace Empathy

Empathy’s Future Trajectory Transformed