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In episode 60 of “The JoyPowered™ Workspace Podcast,” JoDee and Susan discuss workplace empathy with consultant Liesel Mertes. Topics include the cost of disruptive life events, why empathy at work is important, and how to get better at showing empathy. A listener asks about getting applicants when you have unusual job titles.

A recently published white paper, “Empathy in the Workplace,” brings relevant statistics to the topic of Workplace Empathy. The paper mentions how CEOs feel about the topic and why it is important for recruitment and retention. JoDee and Susan discuss their views on empathy and agree that it something they as business leaders find to be difficult to show at times.

Liesel Mertes is a speaker, consultant, and storyteller that focuses on empathy in the workplace. She is passionate about helping people survive, stabilize, and thrive in the aftermath of adversity. She consults with business on how to handle their employee’s hard situations in the right way. The idea was born out of personal experience for Liesel, when her family experienced a horrible tragedy of their own. She stated that this time was one where she experienced some people who understood what to do and were helpful and others who missed her because they did not know how to react. She realized that the same thing is going on in companies across America today. As she heard individual stories and began looking at support systems, she realized she could help give professionals the tools that they need to be strategic and supportive in this space.

Liesel believes that although empathy does not come naturally for everyone, it is a skill that can and should be built. An employee that does not feel supported in a time of tragedy can accrue large costs to a company. If someone feels alienated, unseen, and alone, they are not going to be able to work effectively and may even end up leaving the organization. Liesel challenges companies to look at what internal workplace cultures they are developing. Liesel’s company, Handle with Care, is developing an online portal that companies can use to be more empathetic and know what to say in times of tragedy for those within them. The software will include videos and microlessons that teach both managers and employees how to know what to say and do in these times.

In this episode’s listener question, Kay from Chattanooga asks for advice on how to get qualified applicants when a company has usual job titles. In the news, JoDee comments on the topic and trend of micro-internships.

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Liz Zirkelbach
Liz Zirkelbach
Liz Zirkelbach is an HR Consultant at Purple Ink LLC and one of the authors of The JoyPowered® Team. She also helps produce The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast. She has a special interest in finding the perfect fit for a role and creating a happy ending for both the person and the company.

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