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The Empathetic Workplace

Katharine Manning May 17, 2021

A recent survey of nearly 5,000 employees found that managers with high levels of empathy had three times the impact on their employees’ performance as those with low levels of empathy. Even before Covid, 77% of workers would work longer hours for a more empathetic workplace; 60% would actually take a pay cut. Employees at companies with empathetic leadership are more than twice as likely to say that their workplaces are inclusive. The challenges we’ve weathered in the past year and the leaps in technology that have fundamentally altered how we work make clear that leaders will need to build different ways of managing their employees to be effective in the future. In particular, psychological safety is the key to innovation, communication, and loyalty, and the fastest way to build psychological safety is to lead with effective empathy through challenges. In this session, learn the skills needed to create an environment where employees feel supported and heard when they need it most.



Meta Themes

  • Equity & Inclusion


Listening, Empathy, Leadership, Inclusion

Purpose and Desired Outcome

As we face the pandemic, a racial reckoning, and political and economic turmoil, rates of stress, anxiety, and depression are skyrocketing. At the same time, we are more distant than ever, and our communication skills are dwindling. These challenges affect us at work; they show up in higher absenteeism, missed deadlines, brain fog, and short tempers. This crisis is also an opportunity, though. When we support each other effectively through challenging times, we build trust and psychological safety. Trust is the holy grail when it comes to workplace culture, leading to 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, and 40% less burnout. A Google study on teams found that the best indicator of a healthy and productive team was psychological safety, and that the fastest way to build psychological safety was to support each other through challenging times. This session provides an understanding of the prevalence of trauma and its effect on both the person in trauma and those interacting with him or her, then gives practical advice on how to support those in trauma in the workplace while protecting yourself from compassion fatigue and not running afoul of legal obligations. Attendees are guided through an understanding and discussion of the tools to support those in trauma, and will receive a list of resources that all those with responsibility for others should know. Topics include: • The prevalence and cost of trauma in the workplace as well as how trauma affects the brain of both the speaker and the listener. • Active listening, including controlling your own response when hearing a difficult story. • How to acknowledge a story of trauma without over-promising or opening yourself up to potential liability. • The importance of sharing information, as well as the types of information and resources that can be shared, and how to share information in a way that a person in trauma can understand it. • How to wind up the conversation gracefully, follow up with the person in trauma, and how attendees can protect themselves from compassion fatigue. Katharine Manning, author of The Empathetic Workplace and an attorney with more than 25 years’ experience on issues of trauma and victimization, will teach you how to lead with empathy in challenging times, to build a stronger workplace, more productive teams, and a more engaged and healthier workforce.


  • Corporate & SME

  • Service Providers

  • Government


  • NameKatharine Manning
  • TitlePresident
  • OrganizationBlackbird DC
  • StatusConfirmed
  • NameSejal Patel
  • TitlePrincipal
  • OrganizationSHP Law
  • StatusConfirmed
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