As we slowly but surely find our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is undeniable that our industry is going to need to pivot to meet the changing needs of mobile employees. These changes will likely require global mobility managers and team members to explore opportunities to acquire new skills and hone existing skills.
The relocating employee of the future will likely need more empathy than previously. We’ve long referred to our operations team members as relocation “counselors,” and that nomenclature will likely become even more literal in the coming months, as these team members will need to prioritize the mental and emotional needs and challenges of their customers.
According to Helen Riess (associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, director of the Empathy and Relational Science Program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, as well as a co-founder and chief scientist of empathetics.com), empathy plays an important role in our society’s ability to function, promoting a “sharing of experiences, needs and desires between individuals.”
Our neural networks are set up to interact with the neural networks of others in order to both perceive and understand their emotions and to differentiate them from our own, which makes it possible for humans to live with one another without constantly fighting or feeling taken over by someone else. Research has shown that empathy is not simply inborn, but can actually be taught. Training around empathy should be a consideration for organizations supporting mobility.