13 December 2016

Is your company as empathetic as Facebook?

Author :

In a recent study published by Harvard Business Review, Facebook was ranked the most empathetic company in the world.

The annual study showcases businesses who are “successfully creating empathetic cultures” and scores companies based on:
  • Ethics
  • Leadership
  • Internal culture
  • Brand perception
  • Social media messaging

The list of 20 most empathetic companies (which can be found here) includes LinkedIn, Netflix, Unilever and Johnson & Johnson.

Empathy is often misunderstood and companies go about making attempts to achieve it incorrectly. It is not trying to solve everyone’s problems, nor is it releasing photos of your CEO helping people in poverty.

It is, however, the ability to understand the perspective of Bob, the annoying IT guy who keeps wanting to update your computer. It is, to use an old cliché, putting on someone else’s shoes and asking questions from their point of view.

Whilst creating an empathetic company culture can take months, if not years, it starts with small steps:
  1. Be willing to compromise. To develop empathy you must learn to understand, respect and acknowledge another point of view rather than enforcing your own.
  2. Be transparent. To understand someone you must see their authentic self and this only happens when we trust them. We are more likely to work with companies who are honest and transparent.
  3. Be an authentic leader. This means working closely with front line staff and taking personal responsibility for a level of ongoing direct impact.


Company culture has been the breaking point for companies, particularly start-ups. An empathetic culture is vital to ensuring ongoing organisational growth and retaining your highly-skilled employees. After all, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” – Peter Drucker.


Claire Dowler is a Conference Producer with Akolade. She recently graduated with a double degree: a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Media and Communications Studies majoring in International Communication. Claire minored in sarcasm and puns.

A ballroom-dancer who collects salt and pepper shakers and volunteers for animal rescue, you might say Claire has eclectic interests.

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