Updated: Dec 18, 2019
Shortly after Bennett attended NYCORP's signature event, "Take a Walk on the Human Side” (Bennett's CEO Elizabeth Sawyer, a long-time supporter of NYCORP and a new board member, developed this year's program, theme and content), I came across a Forbes article, "How Important Is Empathy To Successful Management?" and within it, an unsettling remark put forth by Bianca McCann, Chief Human Resources Officer at BetterWorks:
"We know from research that empathy is on the decline."
It's a statement ripe for discussion among those with Orwellian suppositions, although Bianca does go on to say, "That's unfortunate considering it's one of the most critical capabilities needed... in a diverse, dispersed and constantly changing environment." She is referring to manager/employee engagement in this context, but her sentiments about an ever-evolving environment lead nicely into us exploring how empathy applies to current challenges in the world of relocation and global mobility.
Without a doubt, every relocation and repatriation present an entirely unique set of logistical challenges, and a vast variety of resources are needed to successfully relocate a family while, at the same time, it's usually also necessary to support the company effectively throughout an employee's move as well. Each process is as unique and idiosyncratic as every individual and every family involved - read, no two relocations are ever the same (a sentiment shared several times at the NYCORP event). In the same way, every relocation is a unique journey, a human-centered confluence of experiences with a range of feelings–wonder, anxiety, excitement, impatience, frustration, denial, even fear.
The journey can have numerous highs and lows, and as guides along the way with tremendous responsibilities to deliver exceptional service, relocation consultants must continually tap into their empathetic capabilities in order to focus in on true insights and develop real, human solutions that positively impact the mobile family's emotional experiences. Indeed, for relocation consultants, empathy is always the first step and most crucial element in every stage of the mobility process, because it's the direct way to understand how to serve a mobile family well - by putting themselves in their shoes in the moment. If the logistics of a relocation could be called the sails, empathy might be called the wind.
It's easy to take Bianca's comment as a foreboding sentiment, but much more
productive to take as a call to action. Do you feel me?