What is empathy, how to cultivate it, and how it impacts team well-being according to Hermes’ philosophy?
For a workgroup to collaborate in a healthy, effective, and productive manner, it’s essential that team members establish relationships based on trust, open exchange of ideas, and empathy. But what does it mean to work with empathy, and why is it crucial to consider the team’s well-being in achieving desired objectives?
Today, cultivating soft skills alongside technical ones is fundamental to effect positive change that meets the expectations, questions, and challenges posed by the external environment. Working with empathy means having the sensitivity to quickly perceive stimuli and react proactively and adaptively to not only explicit but especially implicit needs of the surrounding environment.
What is empathy?
What we call “empathy” represents the ability to feel the Other and perceive his mental and emotional-affective states. More specifically, we’re talking about an attitude of putting oneself in the Other’s shoes with a non-judgmental, sincerely involved, collaborative, and participatory approach.
The philosopher Heidegger spoke of “Mitsein,” a German word that literally means “being-with” and implies a concept of primary importance: our being passes through being together with others and taking care of them. This means genuinely feeling the Other, without replacing their tasks or exempting them from their responsibilities, but rather supporting and respecting them in their roles from both a professional and human perspective.
The listening space thus becomes a real place of encounter and construction of a new relationship in a positive transformative perspective; a place where dialogue between different points of view is possible, which can directly contribute to the growth of the organisational team by effectively responding to the needs and requirements of all the actors involved.
It goes without saying that such a skill is difficult to “teach” and impossible to impose from above. In Hermes, empathy is not taught but rather “cultivated” daily in direct interactions with the Other. It’s an ability that is practiced and enhanced with the goal of using it increasingly effectively to achieve better results and overcome future challenges.
To this end, Hermes proposes specific Relationship Management programs, primarily organized through group activities, which involve targeted empowerment journeys in the short, medium, and long term:
- Team Building
- Practical Emotional Intelligence
- Mindfulness and Rapid Hypnotic Induction Techniques for managing work-related stress
- Social Skills Training
- Emotional-Cognitive Reprogramming
These empowerment programs aim to constantly strengthen socio-relational skills and soft skills (or cross-functional competencies), supporting the achievement of organizational change objectives as they arise.
In this context, it becomes crucial to map, analyze, and evaluate explicit and implicit needs of the organizational relational network, using integrated methods (both quantitative and qualitative). The goal is to provide dynamic, flexible, and personalized support that can offer the best solutions commensurate with the needs expressed by individuals. This intervention is part of a broader training architecture called Hermes Talent Lab, carried out in close collaboration with Hermes Human Resources department.
Hermes promotes continually updated intervention plans based on the evolution of the constantly changing reality and market, taking into account the constant transformation of relationship and communication methods facilitated by the development of new digital technologies.
All this means making a shared effort that is constantly aimed at improvement, in order to design a sustainable future with the awareness that to increase economic capital, we must first work on enhancing human capital. Indeed, the primary driver of change lies in the human being and his empathy.
Empathy and well-being in the workplace
The constant improvement of the business relationship network, which extends through all nodes of the organizational system, becomes the basic platform for ensuring and promoting a change and a type of productivity capable of moving in a salutogenic perspective—a concept coined by the health sociologist Aaron Antonovsky to study how each individual can live in a healthier way. Individual well-being is again at the center of everything.
Our approach does not focus on issues and discomfort but rather on developing resources and their potential. At Hermes, the goal is to make talents flourish so that they can spread their wings and make a direct contribution to internal and external development processes, responding effectively to the needs and demands of all the actors involved.
The voice of the individual is an integral part of a relationship system that evolves through the contribution of all. The result of each one is the result of the entire organizational team. Hermes aims to overcome an individualistic vision in favor of developing a team and social vision.
Developing emotional intelligence is essential to respond proactively and effectively to the needs of the individual, the client, and the organization of which one is an active part. By strengthening empathy, many fundamental aspects for the successful outcome of organizational objectives can be facilitated and improved: self-esteem, self-efficacy, self-awareness, emotional management and emotional self-control, responsibility management, relationship management, resilience, anxiety and stress management, crisis and conflict management, problem solving, decision making, effective communication strategies, and so on.
These aspects play a decisive role in the overall production process, not only streamlining it but also, and above all, enriching and enhancing it. At the same time, these are fundamental concepts for the satisfaction of individual team members, the organization, and the client. Where empathy is lacking, problems that compromise satisfaction between parties are more likely to arise in any organizational relationship and dynamics. This results in less well-being and, consequently, lower overall productivity.
Cultivating talent to share success
Hermes places individuals and their creativity at the center. Cultivating the talents of individuals means discovering their real vocation to do something useful for society and the surrounding environment, trying to find valid levers to encourage them. People and organizations are an integral part of the ecosystem that welcomes them and have a direct impact on its present and future health.
Our company directs its efforts toward a regenerative approach to resources. Creating environments that develop human potential means creating workspaces and communities where personal, professional, and organizational growth coexist. Hermes does not speak in terms of gears but of people. Although human beings are capable of producing numbers and using even very complex mechanisms, they are certainly not machines, inherently devoid of emotions. Our strength lies in people: technological innovation depends on the development of their knowledge.
A healthy organization is a living and dynamic organism, where each part relates to the others responsibly, aware that its survival depends on the well-being of these relationships. At this point, roles are no longer masks to hide behind when at work but are different-colored garments that take into account the specific potentials of each, put at the service of the Other (colleague, client, etc.) in a healthy and encouraging dialogue space.
Hermes is an IT consulting company that proposes a “network” structure of relationships, not hierarchical. Such an organizational architecture facilitates the development of empathetic relationships. When each team member works on developing their empathy, as described, they ensure the vitality of the organization and create continuous and fruitful connections with the world. In Hermes, it cannot be said that talent is “purely technical,” which in itself is almost never enough. Emotions guide thoughts and actions, and when these emotions function properly, problems are transformed into solutions more quickly, and decisions made will be as effective and productive as possible.