Youngest Workers Need This

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What do your youngest workers crave?

A sense of community at work. Yet, according to researcher Sara Konrath, they haven’t yet developed the skills that will help them build lasting relationships. She reports “a 40% drop in empathy among college students in the past 20 years, as measured by standard psychological tests.”

Don’t miss this intriguing
webinar from HRDQ-U

Don’t miss this intriguing webinar from HRDQ-U

The Well-Connected Employee: Networking Competencies That Foster Engagement, Collaboration, & Business Results

What’s the Evidence?

Konrath is with the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. She collated data on this from 72 studies. She attributes the decline in empathy to young people being so digitally oriented that they haven’t developed experience in building face-to-face relationships.

“Taking on another person’s thoughts and identifying with their emotions are two habits at the core of empathy. Empathy is a delicate cocktail, blending assorted elements of inborn aptitude, social conditioning, personal history, and practice and motivation. The ability to empathize is like a muscle – it’s capable of growth.”

What Does That Mean for People in Training & Development?

That “soft skills,” often relegated to last place in the training calendar (and budget!) must come front and center. It means that teaching practical relationship-building skills can have a positive effect on your employee engagement scores and productivity and can help prevent the decline in empathy among young people.

Can People Really Be Taught to Empathize, Engage, and Connect?

Yes. We’ve seen it happen with our clients, whose employees are in many different functional roles. Relationships don’t just happen. The ability to trust, engage in give and take, appreciate each other, celebrate and commiserate together, ask good questions, listen, collaborate, and express liking and be likable . . . are all LEARNED skills.

What’s the Next Step?

Review your programs in orientation, mentoring, diversity, leadership, business development, and professional development. Do they include the practical how-to’s for connecting, conversing, and collaborating? If so, congratulations! If not, how can you include them?

Headshot of Lynne Waymon
Lynne Waymon

Lynne Waymon is an internationally recognized expert on networking and business development and the co-author of Strategic Connections: The New Face of Networking in a Collaborative World (AMACOM, NY, 2015) and Make Your Contacts Count (NY, 2nd Edition, American Management Association). In keynotes and training programs, she gives professionals in corporate, association, university, and government audiences, as well as people in professional services firms, practical strategies for getting things done through networking, collaboration, and alliance building. Her strategies, in print and in person, are recognized as state-of-the-art.

Recent clients include Bristol-Myers Squibb, KPMG, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, PricewaterhouseCoopers,  Booz-Allen Hamilton, U.S. Cellular, Verizon, Corning, DuPont, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, First Horizon Bank, HSBC Bank, Bates White, the National Business Incubation Association, the Consumer Electronics Association, the American Institute of Architects, George Washington University, Georgetown University, the Smithsonian, the National Geographic Society, the Treasury Executive Institute, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the U.S. Departments of State, Agriculture, FDA, Commerce, and Navy, the NIH, and the Presidential Fellows Program.

Connect with Lynne on LinkedIn.

Recommended Webinar
The Well-Connected Employee: Networking Competencies That Foster Engagement, Collaboration, & Business Results

Uncover the 8 networking competencies that are essential for success in the network-oriented workplace. Enhance your organization’s social capital.

HRDQ-U Webinars | The Well Connected Employee
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