Fresh Ideas /

In turbulent times, empathy is essential

#Strategy, #MarketDisruption, #CustomerExperience

We are feeling fortunate today to serve two clients who work every day from a place of deep empathy. In times of uncertainty, it shows.

On the surface, these two clients could not be more different: one is a service company; the other is a technology company. One is 70 years old. The other is nine years old. One is American. The other is Canadian. One is family-owned. The other is women-led.

But what they have in common is a culture rooted in the kind of empathy that does not stop with their clients but stretches beyond to include their clients’ customers and the people who are important to them.

On a regular day, the service company is in the business of helping corporations large and small move their employees all over the world. With over 70K moves a year, they are instrumental in bringing new hires to new cities. Deploying project teams to remote locations. Moving executives and their families to help build global capacity and knowledge. All while ensuring smooth transitions for trailing spouses and kids, and immigration and tax compliance for their organizations. And they do everything they can to care for all the people involved. Always.

The tech company helps large organizations deliver training and learning to frontline workers who are often scattered in locations far away from their corporate headquarters. Training that is often delivered through mobile devices and tablets in break rooms of retail stores and restaurants. Yes, our client promises to help these organizations skill and reskill a remote workforce, especially in situations of high turnover. But our client also sees the 16-year-old stocker in the produce department of the grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, and they think deeply about the role they play in helping him feel competent and confident in his first-ever job.

Now think about these people amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Not our clients. Not the companies they serve. But the kid in the grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, who is now working diligently to restock shelves as fast as they are being depleted. And the executive who might have moved ahead of her family to São Paulo, Brazil, and is now trying to balance the discipline of self-quarantine while wanting nothing more than to be reunited with her partner and their kids.

We think it is because our clients see right to the fingertips of the organizations they serve that they are so well equipped to act confidently, decisively and—we have to say—admirably in a time of crisis.

They are:

  • Engaged: Clearly communicating their actions and decisions
  • Dependable: Keeping promises, staying focused on duty of care and commitment
  • Leading: Offering support and guidance to their peers, employees, clients, clients’ customers and beyond
  • Helpful: Creating and/or sharing useful information and insights via social posts, webinars, etc.
  • Generous: Spotlighting positive stories, celebrating the good work of others and saying thank you to those who are making a difference

Today, we are seeing their empathy—the responsibility they truly feel to humankind—through a different lens, and we are in awe.

We loved working with these clients three months ago when our biggest challenge was how to keep shared projects on track through the holiday break. Today, we are seeing their empathy—the responsibility they truly feel to humankind—through a different lens, and we are in awe.