Teams, Valuable Resources

Valuable Resource ?: The 2016 Empathy Global Index

The 2016 Empathy Global Index was originally published in the Harvard Business Review. The source of this global index is from The Empathy Business, a UK-based firm “Committed to bringing empathy to business”. This is the 3rd year they have published the Empathy Global Index. 

Belinda Parmar explains how they measured the empathic value of a given company:

We break down empathy into categories: ethics, leadership, company culture, brand perception, and public messaging through social media. Our publicly available metrics including CEO approval ratings from staff, ratio of women on boards, and number of accounting infractions and scandals. This year we added a carbon metric.

Logically, this limits the companies they have access to. Which she goes on to explaining further:

The index focuses on global companies, with an emphasis on UK and U.S. companies and 10 Indian companies. It was not possible to analyze Chinese countries as we hoped, due to a lack of publicly available information.

There seems to be a correlation between financial success and empathy index. Though this was only commented on for the top 10 companies:

The top 10 companies in the Global Empathy Index 2015 increased in value more than twice as much as the bottom 10, and generated 50% more earnings (defined by market capitalization). In our work with clients, we have found a correlation as high as 80% between departments with higher empathy and those with high performers.

Top empathetic technology brands

The really interesting part here is that top international tech-companies are the ones on top:

The tech sector continues to lead our ranking, now accounting for an even bigger share of our top ten (60% in 2016 versus 50% in 2015), with Facebook knocking Microsoft off the top spot, owing to its focus on improving its internal culture and the introduction of the Empathy Lab.


Now we seem to have to take the results of this global index with a pinch or two of salt. Seeing that the underlying data isn’t made available. But when taken at face value (and trusting the logic behind the metric), it seems interesting that practices in companies that promote a focus on empathy actually leads to economic growth.

There’s also some really interesting stuff going on when top technology focused companies are the leaders of a global index like this. This indicates that empathy, technology and software are quite related after all.

Who’d have thought?