You Lack Empathy

You lack empathy.  This employee retention speaker and employee retention author was told that early in his career as an HR leader.  I never considered myself to be a “warm and fuzzy” HR person but I was stung and a bit shocked by that comment from a new general manager that I reported to.  When I inquired what he meant, he went on to explain that I did not relate to the issues our employees were experiencing.  He went on to further explain that it was more as a result of the fact that I had not experienced a lot in life vs. being heartless.  He then helped me to develop that empathy.

What he did was get me out of my office and had me start to talk to people.  He had me go for a morning and afternoon “stroll” with him through the facility.  I was pretty good at doing that because I had started my career as a union steward (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth) and was not afraid to get out on the manufacturing floor.  What he taught me was to get to know people.  He taught me how to listen and to get to know people and the issues they were facing in their day-to-day lives.  He taught me to put myself in their shoes and think what it would be like if I were them.  It worked.

Even though this employee retention consultant and employee retention trainer had not experienced a lot in life at that time, I could start to relate to the trials and tribulations that our employees were going through.  What it did was bought me time.  It bought me time to have my own kids, experience family issues, see more of life…and death so that I could better relate.  The key was he got me out of my office.  If you want to be able to improve your employee retention in your organization, you have to get out of your office and talk to your people.  Talk to them and listen.  Try to put yourself in their shoes.  If you do, it will help you to develop empathy so that you can factor that into your decision-making process.  This will enable you to better help your employees.

In reality, what he taught me was the “C” in C.R.A.P. which is Caring.  It was one of the most valuable lessons I could have learned as an HR leader because it made me better at employee retention.  So, if you need some empathy, get out of your office, talk to your employees and learn what they are experiencing in life.

Jeff Kortes

jeff@humanassetmgt.com

Jeff speaks and conducts workshops regularly in Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Indiana. He draws on his experiences as a human resources professional, father, coach, martial artist and U.S. Army veteran to provide thought-provoking programs that yield results.