The coronavirus crisis has impacted every part of life, from school and work to meals, housing, and healthcare. In upheaval, many are in need of aid. Entrepreneur and author Ed Mitzen says that while many of us are living on less, empathy is not in short supply.
Mitzen is the founder of a health marketing agency and the author of More Than a Number: The Power of Empathy and Philanthropy in Driving Ad Agency Performance. He argues that people care less about a brand’s appearance than about what it actually does to give back to consumers.
Mitzen shares his suggestions for how companies can support employees and their community with compassion:
- Make room for philanthropy. While a crisis often means trimming your budget, giving should still be a priority. Even by shifting donations of money to donations of time or goods, preserving philanthropy preserves your company’s culture.
- Manage layoffs with feeling and kindness. The economic impact of COVID-19 has forced many companies to terminate workers they would rather keep. Mitzen recommends that companies try to exhaust all other options before resorting to layoffs. If inevitable, conduct them with dignity and respect: assure them that this isn’t about their performance. Offer to help in any way you can, including being a reference.
- Be sensitive and humble. Mitzen says companies must straddle the line between good PR and being truly helpful to their community. It’s okay to be public about what you’re doing to help, but don’t seem like you’re using tragedy to self-promote.
“Empathy is the cornerstone of a sustainable and continually successful business…” says Mitzen. “…Empathy for and between your employees and, by extension, empathy for others–especially in times of need.”
For more on Ed Mitzen, be sure to visit his website.
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