Can employers drive results and be empathetic?

Menlo Park, California, USA. January 9, 2022. Editorial Use Only, 3D CGI. Meta Signage Logo on Top of Glass Building. Metaverse Workplace Technology Service Company High-rise Office Headquarters.

U.S. news channel CNBC reported this week that tech giant Meta is now mandating for full-time employees to be in the office three days a week, with the use of employee badge swipes for attendance tracking and workers required to display their physical locations at all times.

Keep in mind that back in 2021, CNBC quoted Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg:

“We’ve learned over the past year that good work can get done anywhere, and I’m even more optimistic that remote work at scale is possible”.

Even though CNBC explain that Meta’s memo did stress employees can still apply for full-time remote status, this shift is reflective of a trend we’ve previously reported at

Whilst the enforced remote working of the pandemic’s lock downs demonstrated that ways of working can swiftly pivot when backed up by transparent and empathetic leadership, employers ranging from Amazon to Zoom are now grappling with the realities of hybrid working.

Experts such as leadership coach Muriel Wilkins, speaking as part of the Radical Candor podcast earlier this month, have even gone so far as to suggest that:

“Leaders just want to drive results. And they’re sort of saying, well it’s either drive the results or be empathetic. I can’t do both”.

Results-focused empathy

Our two most recent Make A Difference reports both point to the increasingly crucial role of empathetic managers when it comes to successful hybrid working and creating cultures of care that support employee wellbeing, engagement and productivity.

Key tips include:

  • Managers have to be properly trained (and ideally appointed with the right people skills or aptitudes to develop these)
  • Clarity around expectations is key
  • It’s important to be able to have difficult conversations in a compassionate and transparent way

You can find out more by downloading our Leaders’ Club #2 report “Creating a culture that enables employees to thrive in the new world of work” here and our “Weaving wellbeing into recruitment and retention” report here.

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