Compassion is key how to bring it into your workplace

By Natalie Boudou
Executive coach & Trainer, Resilience Expert, HumanForce consulting

Compassion is a key component of resilience. Too much energy is wasted in resentful or negative relationships at work and it is clear to me that positive working environments are fuelled by respect and compassion – understanding and appreciating the needs of others.  Compassion enables connection. The feeling that you are liked or trusted is a fundamental need that we all have and research has shown that feeling connected with others enhances wellbeing and even reduces the chance of depression and burnout.

So why is it hard to find at work? Many leaders reject the idea that compassion has its place in the corporate environment and feel that it could be perceived as a sign of weakness or over-indulgence. The fast pace of todays’ business world means that leaders get caught up in delivering results and fail to take into account the feelings of those that deliver them.  This often results in a blame culture.

Much research has been carried out on the benefits of compassion in the workplace and is it now understood that this soft skill can affect a company’s productivity and performance.

Retention of staff in a positive culture

Creating a compassionate environment is a way of retaining employees over a long period of stress and change. Even in times of restructure or uncertainty, compassion can produce trusting and secure environments where employees remain happy and efficient. A report carried out in 2013 by the Centre for Compassion and Altruism highlights that in business, when compassion is emphasised, employees are less stressed and turnover of staff is significantly lower. Their loyalty and engagement increases significantly. CEOs from Fortune 500 companies who contributed to the report talked about how their companies benefitted from a compassionate model and they acknowledged that “ the most forgotten fact in business is that we are all humans”.

Health and wellbeing from Compassion

 At HumanForce consulting, our programmes are designed to increase positivity as we recognise that this is key to resilience.  A number of studies regarding compassion and health at work have underlined that compassionate practices enable people to experience positive emotions which in turn lead to lower blood pressure, decreased stress and a feeling of wellbeing. Martin Seligman, a leading researcher in positive psychology points out that connecting with others improves mental and physical health and speeds up recovery from illness.
Compassion is the intent to contribute to the happiness and wellbeing of others.  It is recognising the circumstances of others and taking action to improve those circumstances. Compassionate leaders have a genuine interest in not just seeing their teams perform but thriving too.  The good news it that you can learn to be more compassionate-it just takes practice. Here are a few tips to improving relationships and creating happy environments at work:

  • Compassion for others starts with self -compassion. You need to be kind with yourself in order to be kind with others.
  • Take the time to reflect about your colleagues and to put yourself in their shoes. This can be very important when there is a misunderstanding or conflict situation.
  • Be curious about your colleagues. This will give you a better understanding of their personal situation. Spend more time with them over a coffee or lunch and get to know what is going on with them.
  • Consider the similarities that you may have with your colleague and take time to focus on their strengths. This helps you to see the whole person rather than just focusing on an area that may annoy you.
  • Acknowledge your colleague’s strengths and attributes. They will feel valued this way
  • If you see a colleague struggling take the time to offer help or guidance.
  • Check your motives before you speak or act. Are you coming from a place of integrity and kindness?
  • Take greater note of your colleague’s wellbeing. Everyone has issues and just observing your colleagues in this way will help you become more compassionate.
  • Establish a collaborative environment where you listen to others’ ideas and encourage suggestions and exchange.
  • Aim to do one act of kindness per day. This will gradually become a routine.

For further questions please contact HumanForce consulting at