Our eighth annual study

2023 State of Workplace Empathy Report

Over the past eight years, our data has made it clear that empathy is critical to employee engagement, culture, and organizational success. But the data is showing us that, year over year, the empathy gap is only getting wider, and HR is stuck in the middle. 

Return to office, mental health, culture, belongingness, and more are feeding the empathy disconnect across organizations. While executives work to protect the bottom line and push for return to the brick-and-mortar, employees are left feeling unheard and unappreciated. 

Key Findings

It’s clear: the empathy disconnect is pushing HR to their breaking point.
After three years of unrelenting change and wearing many hats, HR is calling it quits, both mentally and in reality. It’s time to give HR their voices back and drive healthy, meaningful organizational change. 

HR professionals perception of CEOs
CEOs perception of HR professionals

Minding the Empathy Gap

Disconnected empathy perceptions are driving a wedge in many workplace cultures. As CEOs view themselves as more empathetic, HR and employee perceptions decline in the wake of misaligned priorities, benefits, and return to office.

68% of HR professionals view their CEO as empathetic, a 16-point decline from 2022 and the lowest levels ever reported. In contrast, 92% of CEOs view their HR professionals as empathetic, a 27-point jump from 2022.

HR is Burning Out

61% of HR professionals have experienced a mental health issue in the past year, up nearly 10 points from 2022. And it's no surprise: HR professionals are stuck navigating conflicting priorities between CEOs and employees alongside an ever-growing workload.

Of HR professionals experienced a mental health issue in the past year.

Empathy Perceptions Plummet from HR in 2022

This year's data reveals drastic decline in HR's empathy perceptions across the board, reaching their lowest levels since 2017. While empathy has ebbed and flowed these past eight years, these steep declines indicate an empathy crisis.

-23 points
My organization is empathetic
-16 points
My CEO is empathetic
-16 points
My employees are empathetic
Remote Employees
Would leave current job if required to work in person full time.

Return to Office Drives the Divide

Conflicting priorities between the C-suite, employees, and HR are taking a toll on culture and retention, especially as CEOs push for RTO amidst a turbulent economy. 

Overall, 8 in 10 employees and HR professionals feel they have more employment choices and are confident they can find new, more empathetic employers.

Additional Resources

Coming soon: DEI Special Report & Empathetic Benefits Technology Special Report

2023 Mental Health Special Report

Our eighth annual State of Workplace Empathy Mental Health report takes a look at the conflicting priorities HR is managing, how declining empathy perceptions are coinciding with increased mental health issues, and how the empathy disconnect is crushing culture. 

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Previous Year's Reports

Woman using laptop

2022 State of Workplace Empathy

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

2021 State of Workplace Empathy

Empathy’s Future Trajectory Transformed

2020 State of Workplace Empathy

State of Workplace Empathy: Vital, but Stalled