Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings and vulnerabilities of those around you. Having a strong standing team that is able to notice when someone may need help, or have a good sense of direction when navigating a tough conversation is key. As your small business starts to expand and more team members start joining your team, exercising this skill is crucial.

Whether you are putting your time and energy towards building a more positive working environment this year, or you’re wanting to grow your client list, empathy is a great place to start. Research shows that over 60% of employees would take a pay decrease to work on an empathetic team—proving that investing in your employee’s well-being should be a top priority for industry leaders.

On the flip side of this, showing empathy for your employees doesn’t just happen overnight. There are a few small changes to be made for a long term impact on your team.

Different Types of Empathy

Empathy has various different pros and cons when it comes to a work environment. There is such a thing as being too empathic, or not showing enough empathy. Educating your team about the different types of empathy and which to portray is a great starting point.

1.Cognitive Empathy

Also known as “perspective-taking,” this type of empathy focuses heavily on understanding one’s emotional state. This empathy type provides a comfortable and flexible company environment to help build your team’s ability, goals, and aspirations for growth.

2. Emotional Empathy

This type of empathy is also known as “effective” or “primitive” empathy as it triggers an emotional feeling on a deeper level, affecting one personally. For instance, if someone got in trouble for a project gone wrong, you might develop fear over losing your job or making the same mistake.

3. Compassionate Empathy

Compassionate empathy is the most actionable of all three. This involves seeing someone go through pain, experiencing it emotionally yourself, resulting in an instant desire to help. For instance, say an account executive isn’t meeting their goals that month and have been put on a performance plan. Compassionate workers will do everything in their power to help direct prospects to that team member, schedule additional educational meetings, or give sales directly to them.

Increasing empathy on your team can have a positive impact on your team’s productivity, in turn, optimize your initial salary investment on your employees. Show your team you care this year with Fundera’s roadmap to practicing proper empathy in your workplace.

10 Ways to Increase Empathy in the Workplace

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Meredith Wood Vice President and Founding Editor at Fundera, Meredith Wood is the founding editor of the Fundera Ledger and a vice president at Fundera. She launched the Fundera Ledger in 2014 and has specialized in financial advice for small business owners for almost a decade. Meredith is frequently sought out for her expertise in small business lending. She is a monthly columnist for AllBusiness, and her advice has appeared in the SBA, SCORE, Yahoo, Amex OPEN Forum, Fox Business, American Banker, Small Business Trends, MyCorporation, Small Biz Daily, StartupNation, and more. Email: meredith@fundera.com.