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Compassion Helps the Bottom Line

In a recent interview with Bloomberg Business, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner spoke about compassionate management. Weiner believes that he’s a more effective executive when he incorporates compassion and mindfulness into his day-to-day work.

Stanford psychologist Emma Seppälä’s shares similar findings in The Happiness Track, arguing that a culture of compassion serves organizations better than a tendency toward self-interest.

In an excerpt from the book featured in Knowledge@Wharton, Seppälä cites research by Kim Cameron at the University of Michigan. Kim Cameron describes compassionate practices as caring for colleagues as friends, inspiring peers, focusing on meaning at work, and offering fellow employees kindness and forgiveness.

Cameron’s findings correlate compassionate practices with higher profitability, productivity, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement. “Another large healthcare study confirmed that a compassionate culture at work not only improved employee well-being and productivity but also improved client health outcomes and satisfaction,” writes Seppälä.

Research also suggests that building this kind of culture starts with leaders like Jeff Weiner. Jonathan Haidt at NYU found that when leaders are fair with employees and self-sacrificing, they increased organizational citizenship and commitment to a company. In particular, when managers respond to employees with compassion, it builds trust and positively impacts performance.

Business leaders and managers benefit from a compassionate approach, even during the most difficult situations. Harvard Business Review suggests that during layoffs, leaders drop the “tough guy approach” and “treat employees with dignity, fairness, and respect.” This method ensures that you maintain a level of integrity and fairness, while recognizing employees as human beings first and foremost.