ben-kuo-351000There have been lots of challenges out there in the real world recently. Hurricanes. Fires. North Korea.

The approach of many businesses is basically to ignore all that stuff, because … what can you do about it anyway? Well, maybe write a check to Red Cross, but that’s it.

The problem is that businesses that approach it this way have no heart. It looks like you have a heart because you wrote a big check, but that doesn’t go very deep.

And your employees know it.

The challenge is to have the right balance of “in here” (the business concerns) and “out there” (the real world perspective).

Because your employees also live in the real world, they have larger concerns. I know people who live in Florida and haven’t heard from them yet. I have a cousin near Spokane who is disturbingly close to forest fires.

I even think about the health of my pet cat.

An employer with a heart will respect me for thinking about those things and will offer moral support. It will even let me have those hallway discussions about personal things even though it seems like a “waste of time.”

Treating your people as human is never a waste of time.

The last time I worked for a large corporation, I was heartened to see that the words “I have a family emergency” would immediately release waves of compassion and flexibility. Small deadlines would evaporate and people would offer to take on extra work.

What are you doing to build that level of compassion into the DNA of your company?

This article was first published in InnovatioNews.