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Empathy: What it is (and isn’t) and how companies can put it to good use

Source | Linkedin | Jamil Zaki | Professor of Psychology; Author of THE WAR FOR KINDNESS

In January of 2018, Lissa Minkin stepped into her role as VP of people at the Silicon Valley company Tile. It was like boarding a sinking ship. She knew the company had recently posted underwhelming numbers but was sideswiped by her first major assignment: laying off 30% of their staff. 

Minkin made sure these difficult conversations were handled respectfully, but shockwaves reverberated through the company just the same. Tile faced additional attrition after the layoffs, and only 40% of the remaining workforce reported feeling engaged at the company. 

In the past, Tile’s corporate structure favored a hierarchical, “command and control” style. Employees were kept in the dark about important news. In an all hands meeting—the first time many Tilers had laid eyes on her—Minkin promised those days were behind them. The executive team would be transparent about their decisions and more curious about their effects. Minkin went on a “listening tour,” hearing out often bitter employees and putting programs in place that responded to their needs.

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