Empathy Makes Better Employees and Better People

How can you have empathy?

My wife Lisa and I have five children. Lisa and our daughter Carly spent this past week in Nashville. That left me and the four boy’s at home.  Alone.  I mean, to ‘fend for ourselves.’ Seriously, to fend.

After I made breakfast, I looked at the clock. I had thirty two minutes until the older 3 kids had to leave for school. I hadn’t cleaned up the kitchen. I still needed to change the baby, dress him for the day, and make three lunches.  I wanted to drink coffee and read the paper, too. Mentally, I figured that if I made the lunches, cleaned up the kitchen, and one of the big kids got the baby dressed, I’d have nine minutes to sit, read and enjoy my coffee.  What I didn’t expect was a meltdown from the baby, a nine year old running into a corner (after getting posted up by his big brother), and a last-minute change order to one of the lunches.  What was that old commercial?  “Calgon, take me away!”

I am very empathetic with my wife’s running of our household. I don’t know if that’s always been true. I don’t think I truly appreciate her work until I’m immersed in it myself. How then do we get our employees to have empathy for our customers? It’s really tough to immerse our employees into our customer’s world. They simply don’t have the same work experiences.
Or do they?

We made a video we show during our company training classes. It’s called A Day in the Life of Our Customer. The goal is to show potential employees that our customers have families, struggles, and job responsibilities, too. We want them to recognize as service providers the role we play in our customers’ days. We want to teach them that our customers are just like us, and we have the ability to make or break their day. We share our customers emotions to help us create empathetic employees.

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