Forget the advice about incentives, team activities, and bonuses. There’s a much simpler way to perk up the mood in the office.

So how do you boost employee morale?  While some say it’s compensation, others believe it’s empowering workers.

But there could be a fix that’s vastly underrated: Try showing employees more compassion.

Wharton management professor Sigal Barsade and George Mason University assistant management professor Olivia “Mandy” O’Neill conducted a 16-month study on the effects of “compassionate love,” which includes empathy, caring for someone’s feelings and life, and listening to a person’s needs, at a long-term health care facility with 185 employees, 108 patients, and 42 patient relatives. The study revealed, that compassion does indeed increase employee morale and a sense of teamwork. It even trickles down to boost customer satisfaction.

Compassion in the professional arena refers to simple acts of tenderness and affection—from asking how an employee’s family is doing to grabbing an extra cup of coffee and putting it on someone’s desk when you get one for yourself.

According to Barsade,”[Management and executives] should be thinking about the emotional culture. It starts with how they are treating their own employees when they see them…and it informs what kind of policies they put into place.”

Here are a few things you could try at your workplace:

Fewer Sick Days, More Engagement

Barsade and O’Neill’s two studies found that being careful of listening to employees and being aware of their feelings can reduce sick days and burnout. By making the office more loving and less stressful, employees will feel more comfortable, appreciated and team-oriented.

Increased Customer Satisfaction

Barsade and O’Neill also measured the effect of a culture of compassion on the patients and their families. By tracking the patients’ health, the first study found that patients who were taken care of by employees in the compassionate culture had fewer trips to the emergency room. Satisfaction rates also increased.

Lower Work-Life Issues

Compassionate love on the job has the capacity to decrease instances of negative effects a job has on the employee’s family.  (Image via Shutterstock)

Source: Will Yakowicz | This Could Be the Most Underrated Tactic for Boosting Employee Morale | April 4, 2014 |

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