JLBC Case study


JLBC Case study


When Riikka Mattila joined Scandic Hotels in 2012 as its HR director for Finland, employee engagement was the lowest of all six countries in which the group operated.

Taking an empathetic approach, Riikka focused on bolstering leadership, forging trust, and empowering staff. Each employee was asked to give input on how they did their jobs on the group’s online learning platform.

Initially, participation was low, so the firm asked employees what changes might make them use it. Persistence paid off, and at the Great Place to Work awards in 2018, Scandic Hotels won the best workplace in Finland for the second year running and the third-best workplace in Europe. The return on investment was lower employee turnover, improved financial performance, and more satisfied customers.

Empathy is a skill that can be developed, primarily if you practice it every day. Park your ego and focus on how your work benefits others; in meetings, ensure you know what would fulfill your colleagues’ goals rather than only focusing on what you want. You can then achieve the kind of win-win solutions that keep employees engaged.

Park your ego and focus on how your work benefits others

Seeing something from another’s perspective is critical. Empathy doesn’t mean getting in the other person’s head to manipulate them but knowing how best to work together. If you feel someone is “being difficult,” reframe it by reflecting on their story. People don’t usually set out to be difficult but may have a driver you don’t understand. With empathy, you can find out what it is.

JLBC Learning from stories

By listening empathetically to the stories, people tell you to gain an insight into what drives them and how they relate to others. This doesn’t just build better working relationships; it also gives you a competitive advantage. Empathy filters through increased customer satisfaction, happier employees, higher revenue, and a stronger brand. Be

aware that it takes extra effort to forge relationships with people you don’t meet. Building trust when you can’t pick up on the visual cues we all use when talking requires you to listen more carefully, communicate more clearly, and be even more open and flexible.

Psychologists Daniel Goleman and Paul Ekman identify three facets of empathy:

• Cognitive empathy helps in

understanding how a person

• feels and what they are thinking.

Emotional empathy aids identification

with another’s feelings and deepens

• relationships.

Empathic concern motivates me to help others.

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