Leading Workforce Innovation Specialist, acclaimed Remote Work Influencer and Innovator and author, Sophie Wade, is set to launch her second book, Empathy Works: The Key to Competitive Advantage in the New Era of Work, in the UK market on May 24th.
Since 2011, Sophie, a work futurist, has focused her work on advising and enabling business leaders to adapt their orientation, operating practices, and policies for Future of Work environments. From her base in New York, Sophie advises business directors and managers around the world and works with their employees to adopt updated work habits. Over 475,000 people have taken her popular video courses–including four on LinkedIn – which focus on empathy and Future-of-Work skills.
The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in unprecedented working restrictions worldwide and required company executives to rally, pivot, rework business models, adjust revenue streams, and reallocate tasks. They also had to supervise and support distributed employees working in their homes, spaced out across factory floors, or under intense pressure in frontline jobs. At the same time, the arrival of the Future of Work was hastened as organizations rapidly integrated new technology platforms and applications to manage decentralized workflow and automate tasks to reduce manual hand-offs and keep people safe.
In this technology-driven, Future-of-Work business environment, there is an important human-centric counterbalance. Greater interconnectivity means marketplace developments are faster-paced and less predictable than before the COVID19 crisis. Customer feedback loops are shorter coupled with their expectations of ongoing improvements. Employees are therefore needing to work together closely, often in cross-functional teams, to tackle more complex issues and devise and trial new products and services quickly.
As Sophie Wade explains, now the Future of Work is upon us, business leaders are having to adjust for the new era of work in order to stay competitive: “Since the Future of Work’s arrival was accelerated by the pandemic, corporate executives and managers are quickly needing to recognize the new business and work requirements, challenges, and opportunities. Leaders have to engage their employees—burned out after a two-year pandemic—to meet new business demands. Empathy is the best way for them to do that—putting themselves in their team member’s shoes to understand what they are going through and figure out how best to motivate, manage, and support each person.”
Millennials’ voices are dominating public discourse as their perspectives and interests are highlighted in the cultural shift accompanying the transition to new work arrangements. Their numbers and influence are affecting acceptance, adoption, and adjustments to new approaches and models throughout organisations. Established businesses are needing to compete on more human-centric terms to attract, engage, and retain the best talent.
Sophie explains: “The pandemic certainly accelerated the ongoing shift that has been transforming management approaches from transactional to experiential to engage employees. Business leaders have increasingly needed to elevate corporate values such as trust, empathy, and inclusion. Nurturing a strong culture, they can connect remote workers, create a sense of belonging, encourage collaboration, and support employees’ well-being, especially with widespread mental issues stemming from prolonged crisis conditions. Implementing a relevant hybrid model is key to staying competitive which requires thoughtful design, roll-out, and months of ongoing refinements as each team optimizes their configuration. When leaders practice empathy they understand how to help each employee do their best work.”