Empathy in telehealth support services: how to cultivate the unteachable (part 2 of 2)

Telehealth visits are up 3,000% on their pre-pandemic levels, according to McKinsey & Company. Added to this is the emergence of outcome-based models of care and a meteoric rise in customer expectations. The result? Telehealth support providers find themselves an increasingly vital link in a high-pressure service chain that needs to deliver empathetic service, at scale.

But with debate running long and hard about the extent to which empathy can be taught, businesses find it hard to practically address the problem. So in this blog post, we explore how you can build an empathy led culture within your business.

There’s never been a more important time to deepen your connection with your employees. How? Make space for them to talk about their life and career goals in regular syncs–not just annual reviews. Celebrate their successes in and out of work, and show compassion when they face personal loss or difficulty.

The blog post is the second installment of a two-part series. If you want to get the low-down on how to screen for empathy during your hiring process, check out Part 1. Or read on as we dive into five practical ways to create, nurture, and promote empathy.

Let’s dive in.

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How to cultivate an empathetic work culture

Make empathy a strategic priority: Get everyone on the same page with what empathy is and why you’re making it a priority. Then commit to empathetic practices, calling out their importance for both internal and external operations. Need proof? 70% of customers felt empathy was important in customer service interactions, according to a survey from MyCustomer.

Lead from the front: Empathy starts with your leaders. If they aren’t convinced that empathy matters and practice it daily, no one else will. Worse still, if you say empathy is vital but leaders don’t uphold that, it’ll do more harm than good. Employees will get frustrated and could head for the exit. One in two employees have left a job to get away from a manager at some point in their career, according to Gallup’s State of the American Manager report.

Focus on the person behind the position: A record 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in February 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means there’s never been a more important time to deepen your connection with your employees. How? Make space for them to talk about their life and career goals in regular syncs–not just annual reviews. Celebrate their successes in and out of work, and show compassion when they face personal loss or difficulty.

Measure employee satisfaction: Assess the efficacy of your communication channels and conduct regular surveys so employees can express their concerns (and tell you what’s working well). But you can’t just ask questions. You have to act on their feedback before it’s too late. Even if you’re in a fast-growing business that’s constantly hiring (like we are), your tenured experts are vital to supporting the new talent and creating a vibrant culture. Bringing new talent up to speed in good time is vital: the cost of an unproductive hire can consume up to 30% of an employee’s first-year earnings, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Provide specialist training for staff: Working from home can make it harder to spot when your colleagues are struggling. So give your teams training in how to spot the signs of burnout in their peers. Equipping your teams with effective listening skills will help aid this process and also plays into your feedback culture. Employees who feel cared for are more likely to feel empowered to do their best work.

ACTION POINTS

  1. Get serious about empathy: Make it an organization-wide initiative, get everyone on the same page, and make sure your leaders buy into it.
  2. Make people a priority: Fight against the great resignation by deepening your connection with your employees, measuring employee satisfaction, acting on feedback, and improving communication.
  3. Upskill your teams: Train your teams to spot the signs of burnout in their peers, and in how to practice effective listening at all times.

This was Part 2 of 2 of our Empathy Blog series. Don’t forget to read Part 1: “How to screen for empathy during the hiring process.”

Discover more about gaining a competitive advantage through empathic service. Visit our Healthcare Solutions page now.