Increased empathy from leadership is a cost-effective, and often overlooked, productivity lever within an organisation, according to the latest Annual Pulse of Talent report by global human capital management leader, Dayforce.

Around half of respondents (48% globally and 53% in Australia) agreed that their organisation empathises with employees. Among those who disagreed, 90% said having leaders show more empathy would make a positive difference in their work life, including improving their job satisfaction (52% globally and 47% in Australia), improving job performance (39% globally and 34% in Australia), increasing productivity (37% globally and 38% in Australia), improving mental health (48% globally and 47% in Australia), and making them more loyal (41% globally and 41% in Australia).

More than 8 in 10 (81% globally and in Australia) workers surveyed said their employer made organisational changes in the last year. While change and innovation are central to workforce experiences, organisations can mitigate some challenges created by transformation to benefit both employee and employer.

The report found that stress is high among retail workers with the vast majority (82%) of retail workers globally saying more aggressive performance goals and targets have increased stress levels. When employees didn’t reach performance goals, 45% said it caused them to lose motivation. 

In addition, 80% of retail workers globally said they experienced burnout in the previous 12 months, nearly the same level for three consecutive years. Less than two in five (37%) retail workers globally believe that their employer has a good understanding of their level of burnout.  

Trust is also lacking with only 53% of retail workers globally saying they trust their employers, and only 49% globally say their employers trust their employees. 

Understanding and action are needed with 91% of respondents globally (92% in Australia) saying employers can take actions to help increase productivity, including creating better work-life balance (37% globally and 38% in Australia), hiring more people on their team (32% globally and 28% in Australia), skills development (29% globally and 31% in Australia), and more flexible work schedules (29% globally and 26% in Australia).

“Our research shows employers are caught in a balancing act between a need for increased efficiencies to stay competitive in the market while safeguarding employee wellbeing and trust, which has been in flux since the pandemic,” Dayforce vice president of global talent management and development, Katie Meyers said.

“The good news is that tools and initiatives are readily available to help both sides of this equation meet the challenges of an ever-changing workplace and a boundless workforce.”