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Treating Others with Compassion Leads to Strong Teams

Empathy, civility, compassion—all are watchwords in recent years that emphasize an employer’s people-first focus toward employees as well as clients and customers. Walmart recently highlighted the role managers play during a weeklong training session that focused on the value showing compassion toward workers, The New York Times reported.

The training was part of Walmart’s Manager Academy, which it created during the pandemic.

“As The New York Times article shares, we’re focused on leadership development and bringing managers from all over the country into our headquarters to immerse them in our company's core values, our culture, our evolving leadership expectations, and how to manage strong teams,” wrote Donna Morris, executive vice president and chief people officer at Walmart, in a LinkedIn post.

 “It’s all with a focus on putting people first,” she added.

Compassion goes beyond empathy to create change, according to the Harvard Business Review, noting “it’s that desire to act and create change that differentiates compassion from empathy.”  For example, it noted, a manager may feel empathy toward a team member experiencing a personal hardship in adhering to the requirement to be physically back in the workplace. Compassion is taking steps to change the schedule so that team member can work more comfortably.

SHRM Online collected the following news reports on this topic.

Walmart Wants to Teach Store Managers Compassion

The retailer brings about 2,000 managers a year to its headquarters to discuss how to relate to workers and customers, part of a U.S. corporate trend.

(The New York Times)

Leading with Compassion Has Research-Backed Benefits

Contrary to what many employers currently believe, the recent wave of employee attrition has less to do with economics and more to do with relationships (or lack thereof). The data support that employees’ decisions to stay in a job largely come from a sense of belonging, feeling valued by their leaders, and having caring and trusting colleagues. Conversely, employees are more likely to quit when their work relationships are merely transactional. So, how do leaders foster more meaningful relationships in organizations and inspire loyalty? In a word: compassion.

(Harvard Business Review)

Why Showing Compassion in the Workplace Matters, Especially When This ‘Need’ Arises

University of Virginia assistant professor of commerce Yu Tse Heng collaborated on

a research project that dove into the benefits of building a compassionate workplace. In this Q&A, she talks about why it’s important and how to exhibit it at work.

(University of Virginia)

Why Compassionate Leadership Is Important

Good leadership is rooted in compassion and the idea that leaders make it possible for their teams to do great work by taking compassionate actions to help them do so. Compassionate leadership focuses on building strong relationships with employees by making them feel valued and cared for. This helps them to do great work in a sustainable way that is not detrimental to their well-being.

(Business Leadership Today)

How to Be a Compassionate Manager in a Heartless Organization

What can you do if you want to manage your team with compassion, but your leadership hasn’t bought into this philosophy? Here are six strategies to help you be a compassionate leader in a less-than-ideal environment.

(Harvard Business Review)

Creating a Compassionate Workplace: A Guide for Managers

Compassion fosters a sense of belonging and empathy, encourages collaboration, and supports the mental well-being of employees. Here are some practical steps for managers and others who want to cultivate a compassionate workplace.



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