EY’s Raj Sharma on the Importance of Empathy in the Workplace

Raj Sharma is the Vice Chair of Consulting at EY Americas. EY is a Fair360 Top 50 Hall of Fame company.


Raj Sharma, Vice Chair of Consulting at EY Americas, shared the importance of empathy in the workplace in an interview with Forbes.

The COVID pandemic caused a shift in organizational focus, with empathy toward the frontlines. According to the 2023 EY US Empathy in Business Survey, empathy drives psychological safety, allowing for experimental failure to generate new ideas.

“The survey finds workers feel that mutual empathy between company leaders and employees leads to increased efficiency (88%), creativity (87%), job satisfaction (87%), idea sharing (86%), innovation (85%) and even company revenue (83%),” Sharma said.

Sharma also commented on the creativity and innovation that a safe environment can bring. “When people feel valued and trust their leaders, it frees them emotionally to do their best work. Empathy has been so valuable and an underrated leadership tool when a company is undergoing transformation, and that’s why this research is so important,” he said.

However, employees feel leaders can often be disingenuous.

“Half (52%) of employees currently believe their company’s efforts to be empathetic toward employees are dishonest […] and employees increasingly report a lack of follow-through when it comes to company promises,” Sharma said. “Simply ‘talking the talk’ is no longer enough, and our survey further shows the importance and necessity of authentic and “actionable” empathy in the workplace. Leaders should be working to create better connections and relationships with co-workers, and that will in turn help motivate them and feel supported.”

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