Do you need to train your HR team on empathy?

Do you need to train your HR team on empathy?

Over the last few years especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, companies all over the world have been focusing more on creating a healthy environment and culture at work.

As a result, the majority of companies have seen a rise in constructive discussions around work-life balance, taking care of one’s mental health at work setting boundaries in one’s professional life, and even obtaining professional help as a part of their work departments. 

One of the most crucial parts of any organization is the employee’s relationship with the organization and their work. A company’s performance depends on how invested the employees feel in the work that they do. Some ways can offer them support at work to ensure that their needs are taken care of.

A human resource professional plays a very crucial role in being a common thread between the employees and management. He/ She represents the culture of the company. The HR department also happens to create the first impression of the organization because it is involved with the employees since the beginning of their journeys i.e. screening and hiring.  

Let us also understand what empathy means. It is different from sympathy and being empathetic does not involve you feeling pity or sad about someone else’s conditions.

Being empathetic means being aware of your differences and still being able to imagine what it would be like to be in the other person’s shoes and understanding their state of mind.

For example for a manager, it may not be completely possible to understand a pregnant female employee’s struggles but being empathetic can allow them to have an open mind and imagine what it would be like to be in that employee’s position during such a time. 

Let us look at a few ways in which we can equip HR professionals to provide better emotional support to the employees who may need it.

Awareness and education

It is very important to have basic information and knowledge about how different people might have different personality styles and different response patterns to the same thing. No two people will look at the event or a statement similarly. Providing yourself with knowledge about why certain people respond in a particular manner makes communication easier and fosters more understanding. Awareness and education program aims at bridging this knowledge gap and helping HR professionals develop a new set of vocabulary and skills that they can use while communicating with employees. 

Building emotional safety at work

Post-COVID, the working styles have also started to evolve. We see people working out of the office, online, or through a hybrid mode now. This change in the work environment has also influenced the interaction between colleagues and co-workers. It is of utmost importance for everyone to be able to exercise professional boundaries no matter what relationship they share with their colleagues or the company.

Organizations also have policies that can assist employees in preventing themselves from any mistreatment at work. But as HR professionals, it is also important to develop a safe place for people. Emotional safety is extremely important and if someone feels like it is being violated, then there should be systems in place to take care of that. Mental Health First Aid training programs can help in equipping yourself with basic skills and techniques to help and provide employees with emotional safety.

Inclusion and celebrating diversity at work

Training programs around inclusion and diversity can go a long way in making people feel seen and heard. It is always best to learn about people from themselves rather than assuming information or putting them into boxes with labels. For example, if a person called ‘A’ at work prefers people to call him by a certain pronoun, he will be more comfortable when people address him with that pronoun. 

Inclusivity programs focus on developing a healthy chain of communication and understanding and building emotional safety and security for everyone in the organization. It is very important for every employee to feel respected and valued at their place of work and these programs are a step in that direction.

Webinars and QnA sessions

Manah Wellness offers a wide range of variety of skill-building like webinars and expert Q&A sessions to understand how you can implement healthy practices to support employees at work. In Q&A sessions, you can learn from the experiences of the experts and understand what policies and practices you can implement to make your workplace emotionally healthy. Webinars can be designed especially for HR professionals and can allow you to interact and experience the change yourself. 

Experiential learning programs

Experiential programs provide hands-on training rather than focusing on theory. These programs include activities and role-plays where the individual gets to play the role of the other person and understand the situation from their point of view. This enables and forms a chain of being able to understand other person and imagine what it must be like to be in their shoes.

At Manah Wellness, we have a LEAP program that offers tools and resources to help sensitize your HR team and help them help your employees to create a happy and positive workplace.

Contact us to know more.