How empathic leaders avoid the 'Great Resignation'

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Empathic leaders improve employee engagement and innovation and reduce burnout and resignations in their employees, according to a recent Catalyst report.

For its study, Catalyst surveyed 889 U.S. employees on how empathic senior leaders and managers have affected experiences at work, according to a Sept. 14 news release on the study. The study defines an empathic leader as someone who exerts care, concern and understanding for their employees' life circumstances.

Seven study insights:

  1. The study found that leaders who show their employees empathy helped drive innovation and employee engagement, specifically for women of color. Empathic leaders also reduced employees' burnout and reduced their intent to resign.

  2. Employees who have empathic leadership reported high levels of creativity and engagement (61 percent and 76 percent, respectively). For those without empathic leaders, those numbers were much lower, with just 13 percent reporting creativity and 32 percent reporting feeling engaged.

  3. Eighty-six percent of employees with empathic senior leaders reported feeling their life experiences were respected and valued by their employers, whereas just 45 percent of employees with low-level empathic senior leaders felt this way.

  4. Fifty-seven percent of white women who feel their life circumstances are respected and valued by their company reported never or rarely thinking about leaving their organization, compared to just 14 percent of white women who don't feel valued and respected.

  5. Burnout was slightly higher in women who reported having leaders with low levels of empathy. Sixty-three percent of women with less empathic leaders reported COVID-19-related burnout at work, compared with 54 percent of women who have empathic leadership.

  6. For women of color, 33 percent of women with less empathic senior leaders said they often think about leaving their company, compared to 18 percent of women of color with highly empathic senior leaders.

  7. For women of color, 62 percent who feel their life circumstances are respected and valued by their company reported never or rarely thinking about leaving their organization, compared to 30 percent of women of color who don't feel valued or respected.



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