Compassion is a revered quality that is found as a through line through all major religious and philosophical traditions. After centuries of people intuitively understanding the importance of compassion, there is now a growing body of science based, hard evidence that confirms what people have known all along: Compassion is beneficial to all involved.
In 2020, leaders in many organizations - business, educational, governmental - are seeing the value of Compassion as an operating principle. A key leader and visionary in this movement is Jeff Weiner from LinkedIn. Below is a video of the commencement address he gave to the graduating students of Wharton 2018.
(Choose Section To Jump To)
Janina Scarlet, Nathanael Altmeyer, Susan Knier, and R. Edward Harpin
Study that investigates the effects of Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) on various aspects of burnout and job satisfaction in health-care workers. Specifically, this study sought to investigate whether CCT reduces work-related burnout, interpersonal conﬂict, as well as increases of mindfulness, compassion toward the self, fears of compassion, and job satisfaction scores.
Jane E. Dutton, Kristina Workman, Ashley E. Hardin
Two studies that explore core questions about compassion at work. Findings from a pilot survey indicate that compassion occurs with relative frequency among a wide variety of individuals, suggesting a relationship between experienced compassion, positive emotion, and affective commitment. This survey study tested a theoretical model of the relationship between compassion and affective outcomes, showing that compassion at work is associated with more frequent positive emotion and heightened affective commitment.
Current OnGoing Research
CCARE, a program of the Stanford Institute for NeuroInnovation & Translational Neurosciences (SINTN), has taken on the mission of not only scientifically studying the neural, mental, and social basis of compassion and altruistic behavior, but also exploring testable cognitive and affective training exercises through which individuals and societies can learn to employ these complex behaviors. Above is a link to their amazing current research.
Taylor A. Lyon
Loneliness is a common and painful experience related to a multitude of negative health outcomes. The current study examined the relationship between measures of self compassion and measures of loneliness in order to explore whether a self-compassionate mindset might alleviate feelings of social isolation.
Arindrajit Dube, Eric Freeman, and Michael Reich
They investigate properties of employee replacement costs, using a panel survey of California businesses in 2003 and 2008. Establish that replacement costs are substantial relative to annual wages and that they are associated negatively with the use of seniority in promotion. They also find some evidence, albeit not under all specifications, that replacement costs are positively associated with establishment size, which is consistent with monopsony. Research estimates suggest a positive relationship between replacement costs and the wage. While this result is not robust, it constitutes a puzzle for hiring and separation models, such as Manning (2003). In these models, the negative wage elasticity of replacement costs is a key assumption.
Robert G. Eccles, Ioannis Ioannou and George Serafeim
Robert G. Eccles, Ioannis Ioannou, and George Serafeim compared a matched sample of 180 companies, 90 of which they classify as High Sustainability firms and 90 as Low Sustainability firms, in order to examine issues of governance, culture, and performance. Findings for an 18-year period show that High Sustainability firms dramatically outperformed the Low Sustainability ones in terms of both stock market and accounting measures.
This 2019 report is based on the views of a diverse group of 13,416 millennials from around the world. This Deloitte survey is intended to figure out, in this current global economy of economic expansion and opportunity, why millennials are still expressing uneasiness and pessimism about their careers, lives in general, and the world around them. As we go further into the 21st century, millennials are beginning to make up the majority of the workforce and it is predicted by 2025, 70% of the workforce will be millennials. With this is mind, it is important for them to voice their opinions and for us to listen.
A research paper answering "What is compassion?", "Why is compassion so scarce in organisational life?", "What is compassionate leadership?", and most importantly "Is there a business case for compassion?". Then they set up a business case, talking about the positive benefits to the sufferer when there is a culture of compassionate leadership. Benefits to the sufferer are important, but there are also benefits to employees, their organisation, and their clients. They offer scientific research based evidence to prove their claim, saying that these groups benefit from compassionate leadership. For example, Experiencing compassion at work connects co-workers psychologically and results in a stronger bond between them (Frost et al. 2000).
James R. Doty
Written by James R. Doty, MD, Director and Founder, CCARE Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery, Stanford University. Tells us about the relationship between humans and compassion science.
Linda A. Fogarty, Barbara A. Curbow, John R. Wingard, Karen McDonnell, and Mark R. Somerfield
Study of 123 health female breast cancer survivors and 87 women without cancer. Participants completed the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), an information recall test, a compassion rating, and physician attribute rating scales.
Talks about the steps to a compassion continuum. Steps which include sympathy (thoughts), empathy (thoughts and feelings), and compassion (thoughts, feelings, and actions). Conveying people in distress need more action than advice.
Give you a warm glow perhaps, or a feeling of well-being? While that may be true, scientists and academics at a new research centre say it can do much more - it can extend your life. "We look at the scientific point of view. We aren't sitting around in circles, holding hands. We're talking about the psychology, the biology, of positive social interactions," says Daniel Fessler, the inaugural director of UCLA's Bedari Kindness Institute.
Many business leaders firmly believe compassion has no place in the business world. While some managers fear showing too much kindness could be perceived as weakness, others think pressure—not compassion—is the only way to keep employees productive. Despite those concerns, there is actually clear evidence that compassion in the workplace serves many benefits. Compassion not only improves workplace culture, but it can also help a company’s bottom line.
Kira M. Newman
In a society we are told the theory, there is only so much success to go around, and that you have to aggressively compete for it. A new book argues that helping others can actually help us achieve more.
A fun quiz asking "How self compassionate are you?" It is an adapted version of the Self-Compassion Scale, which researchers use to measure how much self-kindness or harsh self-judgment we show ourselves. Read each statement carefully. Don't think about how others might see you. Focus on how you view yourself.
Center for Compassionate Leadership
The Epidemiology of Compassion and Love Conference, a gathering of 70 invited interdisciplinary scholars, scientists, practitioners and leaders, was held January 8-10, 2020 in Atlanta. This conference has been the dream – years in the making – of David Addiss, MD, MPH, director of the Focus Area for Compassion and Ethics (FACE) at the Task Force for Global Health. While the success of the event was the result of the shared wisdom of the participants and the sponsoring partnership of the Fetzer Institute and FACE, it was clearly the vision and devoted hard work of Dr. Addiss that brought this amazing event to life. Dr. Addiss challenged us all to bring our unique perspectives to the topic through the lens of individuals, organizations, and communities.
As the head of a big-city hospital’s emergency department, Susan O’Mara has always focused on providing quick answers to people in crisis: A relative desperate for information. An injured person facing a very long wait. A colleague exhausted from dealing with fed-up patients. But until a special training a few months ago, O’Mara didn’t consider whether there were ways to be more compassionate in her response.
Dr. Thupten Jinpa's family escaped from Tibet to India when he was just a year old and he began his monastic life shortly thereafter. He has been the Dalai Lama's primary English interpreter and book editor for nearly 30 years and is the author most recently of, A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to Be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives.
Loneliness appears to be widespread among Americans, affecting three out of every four people, researchers have found. Wisdom appeared to be a strong factor in avoiding feelings of loneliness, the researchers said. People who had qualities of wisdom -- empathy, compassion, control over their emotions, self-reflection -- were much less likely to feel lonely.
Factors of self compassion include; self kindness, common humanity, mindfulness, self judgment, isolation, over identification. Study shows through a correlation analysis, self-kindness, common humanity, mindfulness were found negatively related to loneliness. While self judgment, isolation, over identification were found positively related to loneliness.
Explains the consequences of having lonely employees, including seeming less approachable to their coworkers, having a lower job performance, and being less committed to the company. Then talks about what businesses could be doing fix this.
The fact of loneliness being a health issue would not have been a surprise to Mother Teresa who once said: "The biggest disease today is not leprosy or cancer or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for and deserted by everybody." But now doctors have quantified the effects of the loneliness disease, warning that lonely people are nearly twice as likely to die prematurely as those who do not suffer feelings of isolation.
Loneliness can take root deeply within you. Maybe your daily routine is punctuated by this pain emanating from an emptiness in your chest. If so, you know that you are in trouble. It is a symptom of your severed connection from humanity. But while it can instill a sense of worthlessness and hopelessness, it can also be soothed. The healing agents for loneliness are awareness, acceptance, and compassion.
Despite living in the “most technologically connected age in human development,” people in this country are isolated and alone. The percentage of Americans who report being lonely—40 percent—has doubled in a generation. We must address “diseases of despair driven by deficits of hope,” said Dr. Vivek Murthy, 19th Surgeon General of the United States.
Being lonely has been linked to poorer well being, worst emotion health, and worst physical health. “Human beings are an ultra-social species — and our nervous systems expect to have others around us,” Emiliana Simon-Thomas, PhD, Science Director of the Greater Good Science Center at The University of California, Berkeley, tells NBC News.
Anne Vinggaard Christensen
“This study confirms what has also been indicated in previous research regarding the serious health consequences of loneliness,” Anne Vinggaard Christensen, PhD student at the Heart Centre at Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark, told Healio. “We knew that there was a connection between loneliness and poor health outcomes, but we were surprised by the strength of the association. Loneliness should be considered a serious risk factor in patients with cardiac disease and should be included in risk evaluation of patients. Furthermore, public health initiatives should aim at reducing loneliness.”
Two months before he was killed, Martin Luther King Jr., described a mistake that wastes many lives. He called it the drum major instinct, “a desire to be out front, a desire to lead the parade, a desire to be first.” In some ways, there is nothing more natural. Foals and shorebirds can fend for themselves the day they’re born, but human children remain helpless for years. They must crave attention; without it, they would die. But instead of subsiding with age, the drum major instinct spreads across our lives. We’ve even elevated it into an ideology, defining success as the ability to beat our enemies and outshine our peers — as though self-obsessed competition will make us thrive. The article goes more into detail of how a society based around the drum major instinct leads to detrimental consequences to the community. An example they gave was more and more students are reporting higher levels of loneliness, depression, and anxiety.
The amount of money companies spend on the mental health of their employees has been rising rapidly. Employee mental health costs rise twice as fast as all other medical expenses. People with mental health conditions make six times as many emergency room visits as the overall population. Employers plan to make mental health one of their top priorities in coming years, a new Willis Towers Watson survey finds.
Mental health is something we all have, just like physical health. And just like physical health, mental health can sit anywhere on a scale from good to bad. It’s a commonly accepted fact that adults spend roughly one-third of their lives at work. That’s a significant amount of time, within which we are likely to experience a spectrum of physical and mental health. This article will share some of the latest facts and figures around mental health and the workplace, explain why it should be an area of interest for executives and look at changes businesses can make to improve the wellbeing of its employees and support better mental health. This information is for everyone.
An estimated 46.6 million U.S. adults struggle with mental illnesses, such as anxiety disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. But you don’t have to be clinically diagnosed with a mental illness to experience the symptoms and effects of stress and anxiety, especially in the workplace. For millennials, specifically, research suggests that money and work are the biggest factors contributing to their stress
American Psychiatric Association
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in the United States, affecting 18% of American adults and as many as 33% of people at any point in their lifetime. Globally, anxiety disorders are the sixth-leading cause of disability (defined by years of life lived with disability), with greater rates of disability occurring in females and in people aged 15 to 34 years. Anxiety disorders are associated with a poorer quality of life in comparison to not having anxiety, including higher rates of divorce and unemployment.
Stress and Burnout
Burnout: Books are being published about it, high-powered medical groups are raising alarms and ordinary people are feeling it. A recent report from Harvard and Massachusetts medical organizations declared physician burnout a public health crisis. It pointed out the problem not only harms doctors but also patients. “Burnout is associated with increasing medical errors,” the paper said. Ninety-five percent of human resource leaders say burnout is sabotaging workplace retention, often because of overly heavy workloads, one survey found. Poor management contributes to the burnout epidemic.
American Psychological Association
Taking time off helps the majority of U.S. workers recover from stress and experience positive effects that improve their well-being and job performance, but for nearly two-thirds of working adults, the benefits of time away dissipate within a few days, according to a survey released by the American Psychological Association.
A recent Gallup study of nearly 7,500 full-time employees found that 23 percent reported feeling burned out at work very often or always, while an additional 44 percent reported feeling burned out sometimes. Job burnout accounts for an estimated $125 billion to $190 billion in health-care spending each year and has been attributed to type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, gastrointestinal issues, high cholesterol and even death for those under the age of 45.
The World Health Organization (WHO) placed "burn-out" in its International Classification of Diseases version 11 (ICD-11) under the heading "occupational phenomenon," and even bestowed it with a set of diagnostic criteria. It was just the latest, but easily the most official, sign that it isn't necessarily okay for the measures we take to subsist to amount to a horrible, pointless slog that fills all of our days with dread and misery as we toil joylessly to make some other person rich. In this case, the medical community finally seemed to be catching up to where some writers, labor activists, and public health researchers have been for some time.
Here are two calculators that will demonstrate the cost of disengagement and attrition, straight from Dr. Britt Andreatta’s course Organizational Learning and Development. This will help you articulate the urgency behind the need for learning to leadership teams. Use this workbook as a tool to more effectively communicate how your learning initiatives can support and align to business goals.
Study found that 79% of employees are not highly engaged at work (meaning they could be from a range of highly disengaged to somewhat engaged). They're just there for the paycheck, which means they're doing enough to avoid being fired but aren't likely to go above and beyond their primary responsibilities. That complacency is costing you. How much? According to Gallup, disengaged employees have 37% higher absenteeism, 18% lower productivity and 15% lower profitability. When that translates into dollars, you're looking at the cost of 34% of a disengaged employee's annual salary, or $3,400 for every $10,000 they make.
Heather Boushey and Sarah Jane Glynn
Implementing workplace policies that benefit workers and help boost employee retention is not simply a “nice” thing for businesses to do for their employees. Maintaining a stable workforce by reducing employee turnover through better benefits and flexible workplace policies also makes good business sense, as it can result in significant cost savings to employers.
Sally Blount and Paul Leinwand
A truly powerful purpose statement is one that achieves two objectives: clearly articulating strategic goals and motivating your workforce. These objectives are important individually and synergistically. When your employees understand and embrace your organization’s purpose, they’re inspired to do work that not only is good—and sometimes great—but also delivers on your stated aims.
Society for Human Resource Management
The report analyzes data collected from the SHRM Human Capital Benchmarking Survey in 2016. The survey of 2,048 respondents measured employment, retirement, compensation, employer-paid tuition and other people metrics. The data was collected from February to April 2016 and reflect fiscal year 2015. Metrics from this report are useful to organizations as they evaluate their own operations and practices and can be customized to meet specific needs.
Gives you the latest insights on the sectors, industries, and jobs seeing the highest levels of turnover, based on LinkedIn’s data on half-a-billion professionals. Insight #1: our analysis finds a worldwide turnover rate of 10.9%, defined as the percent of LinkedIn members who indicated they left a company in 2017.
Turnover trends are compelling many companies and managers to up their games when it comes to their employee retention strategies. And through better retention, these firms are hoping to avoid the high costs of turnover. For example, the report finds that U.S. employers will pay $600 billion in turnover costs in 2018. Companies can expect that annual cost to increase to $680 billion by 2020, according to the study.
Compassion in Leadership
When we think of powerful people from history, we often think of negative examples—like Hitler, Mussolini, or Stalin. The idea that power is bad can be summed up by the saying, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” But power also has a positive side, especially when it’s wielded in the service of humanity. Think of Martin Luther King Jr. or Mahatma Gandhi. Though both men embraced their personal power, they directed it in a way to further humanitarian causes.
The Dalai Lama with Rasmus Hougaard
Look at bees. They have no constitution, police, or moral training, but they work together in order to survive. Though they may occasionally squabble, the colony survives on the basis of cooperation. Human beings, on the other hand, have constitutions, complex legal systems, and police forces; we have remarkable intelligence and a great capacity for love and affection. Yet, despite our many extraordinary qualities, we seem less able to cooperate.
Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn CEO, gives his two cents on compassion in the workplace. Weiner says he teaches compassion by showing students how to put themselves in other peoples' shoes — "seeing the world through their lens for the sake of helping them and alleviating their suffering."
Rasmus Hougaard, Jacqueline Carter, and Jason Beck
Linked to a well developed assessment (quiz) to see if you are a compassionate leader. What do they mean by compassion? It is the intent to contribute to the happiness and well-being of others. A compassionate leader has a genuine interest in seeing their people not just perform and increase profits but thrive. But this doesn’t mean “being soft” or trying to please people by giving them what they want; rather, it requires giving people what they need, such as tough feedback. Compassionate leadership requires having wisdom about how to lead for the greater good and for the long term.
They examined the importance of leaders driving happiness and fulfillment in their organizations. They found that leaders who focus on these issues outperform their peers by a wide margin. Why is that? Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in his book Flow, said it best: “The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”
Rasmus Hougaard, Jacqueline Carter, Louise Chester
The article first talks about John Stumpf, then the CEO of Wells Fargo, and how he caused a massive scandal, having to go before Congress to talk about why a bank with $1.8 trillion in assets, created 2 million false accounts. Then after the scandal was discovered, Stumpf, as a way of redirecting blame, fired 5,300 Wells Fargo employees. Although his actions caused 5,300 people to lose their jobs, he seemed incapable of acknowledging their pain. Yes, he apologized, but he didn’t seem remorseful. Rather, he seemed a little taken aback by the whole thing, as if he really didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. The behavior of John Stumpf can be explained through the research of neuroscientist Sukhvinder Obhi, who has found that power impairs our mirror-neurological activity — the neurological function that indicates the ability to understand and associate with others.
Employee Engagement Matters
In today’s employee market, companies are looking for creative techniques to retain employees. Volunteer time off (VTO) is a popular benefit that not only engages employees but also gives companies a competitive edge. Although employees generally embrace volunteering, some companies have trouble getting started. Here are three challenges that can keep companies from fully adopting VTO programs – and how to overcome them.
Employee volunteerism and corporate philanthropy’s impact on talent attraction and retention in the 21st century
Report that has key findings from a survey of individuals throughout the United States working for large companies. This report highlights the key research findings and what they mean for companies in this ever-tightening labor pool. With increasing numbers of employees expecting corporate America to do more to help society, inaction could greatly hinder companies’ ability to attract and retain top talent.
Benevity, Inc., the global leader in corporate social responsibility and employee engagement software, announced the results of the Benevity Engagement Study, an analysis of the link between participation in corporate Goodness programs and employee retention within a large cohort of Fortune 1000 companies. The study, which examined the activity of more than 2 million users on the Benevity platform, found that turnover dropped by an average of 57 percent in the employee group most deeply connected to their companies’ giving and volunteering efforts.
One of the greatest benefits of a community involvement or corporate social responsibility (CSR) program is that it allows organizations to engage their employees on a variety of different levels, which ultimately drives overall engagement in your company.
Eva Boštjančič, Sandra Antolović, and Vanja Erčulj
Employers are increasingly including volunteer activities in their social responsibility programs. At companies at which this is done in a planned manner, we can speak of the development of a corporate volunteering, which correlates with numerous positive psychological outcomes at both the individual and the organizational level. The aim of the study was to investigate the relationship between the corporate volunteering programs and job characteristics, connected with work engagement.
Volunteerism can offer many benefits to nonprofits, communities the nonprofits serve, and individual volunteers. For businesses, volunteerism may play a key role in helping attract, retain and develop skilled talent, as well as growing tomorrow’s leaders. Businesses may want to consider implementing their own volunteer programs if they do not already have them in place, as well as doing more to communicate the value they place on volunteering to potential and current talent.
is a precious thing. Once we give it away, we can't get it back. And that's part of what makes new federal data on volunteering a compelling snapshot of generosity across geographic and demographic lines. The data, from a survey released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2016, the most recent year available, shows that about one-quarter of Americans, or 25 percent, take the time to volunteer.
Employees are demanding more meaning from their work, customers shop more ethically and there are always communities in need. Corporate volunteering seems like the answer, but you need to convince the rest of your organization. This can be difficult, especially since there has been very little research conducted on this growing area of volunteering. This lack of evidence around the benefits and outcomes of corporate volunteering means companies have struggled to argue the case for investing resources into their volunteer programs.
Many companies have employee volunteer programs, but for many companies in Europe, Canada and the US these programs are underfunded, underdeveloped and underutilized. This blog series is meant to offer a number of compelling reasons why your business needs to invest (a bit more) in employee volunteering.
Compassion-based employee wellness platform for enterprises
Benevolently is a technology and learning platform that provides curated opportunities for one person to help another without expectation of return. We bring people together for compassionate acts.
Enterprises use Benevolently to increase engagement and increase meaningful connections in the every day lives of their employees.
Benevolently helps employees connect to themselves through their own acts of kindness and compassion to others.
In collaboration with
A Vision for Compassionate Leadership
We envision a more compassionate, peaceful world where individuals are able to express their full, innate potential for the greater good of all.
The mission of the Center for Compassionate Leadership is to advance compassionate methods of leadership by integrating best practices of modern leadership, evidence-based science, and contemplative wisdom. The Center accomplishes this through thought leadership, research, curriculum and training, community, and collaboration.
Bark Media: Story telling that changes the world
Neuroscience shows that emotionally compelling content enables people to understand and recall key points more effectively. Storytelling enables us to empathize with others, and, according to research, inspires behavior change. Storytelling has shaped the arc of human history and in many ways defines us as humans.
Bark sees that the scale of the problems our world faces requires systems-level change. We apply our expertise in storytelling, brand-building, and audience engagement to bigger movements—the shifts in business, society, and politics we believe are necessary to realize the future we want to see. That’s what drives us and what defines our mission: to tell and amplify the authentic stories of the people, businesses, and movements building a better world.
The Inner MBA
A nine-month immersion program to train leaders, entrepreneurs, managers, and employees on how to powerfully grow themselves and their companies.
Starts September 8, 2020
Enrollment open for a limited time
Search Inside Yourself takes an evidence-based approach combining neuroscience, attention-training and emotional intelligence.
The program provides practical tools that can be applied immediately in life or at work. We start with a foundation of mindfulness, and build the core emotional intelligence domains that lead to outstanding leadership.