“The transition to hybrid work has changed the way of working as a team and empathy is the ingredient that allows people to connect. Not surprisingly, it has been discussed a lot, also with respect to the theme of inclusion and diversity. I like to think that empathy is a force field that keeps organizations alive. ” Gianpaolo Barozzi, HR senior director at Cisco Italia, thus explains the genesis of the recent experimental research project on empathic collaboration, developed in Italy by Cisco in collaboration with Logotel, the New Academy of Fine Arts and the Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center. The initiative is part of the profound transformation of work triggered by the Covid 19 pandemic. A tsunami that in a short time has upset the consolidated paradigms of corporate organizations, and in particular thework organization in all its facets.
“We asked ourselves how empathy could be concretely created and a truly empathic collaborative experience designed – Barozzi told Republic -. During the second phase of the pandemic, that of the boom of virtual interactions, we joined Logotel and the New Academy of Fine Arts (Naba, ed) to study how organizations were responding to all these evolutions and identify the best experiences of transformations, from digital fashion shows to the incredible spread of gaming and entertainment “. Cisco, Logotel e Naba they thus studied about 200 cases, identifying the common elements of all successful experiences. The 9 guidelines for creating an engaging and empathic experience were born from the study of best practices. A vademecum that ranges from the creation of harmony between people to the drive to be oneself, from the incentive of the use of creativity to the creation of aesthetically positive experiences.
The risk that the project was lost in connotations of maximum systems was averted by referring to practical applications. “We applied these guidelines in real life, classifying some types of typical meetings: progress meetings, review of results, brainstorming, plenaries and other working moments on the subject. For each of these cases we have declined the guidelines with the actions and activities to be carried out before, during and after to achieve the same 9 objectives, including both empathic and technological suggestions “.
Confirmation that the suggestions proposed actually created a more empathic experience was ensured by aneuroscientific validation activities. The collaboration with Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center – Neuroscience Lab, and its scientific partner Scuola Imt Alti Studi Lucca. Objective: to understand if the application of the manuals was really able to generate empathy.
“We submitted laboratory-designed psychometric questionnaires to over 150 people, both before and after the Webex session. The test confirmed that participants who had an experience consistent with the guidelines had a higher emotional state, trying plus more empathy. In the next few days – concludes Barozzi – we will share with anyone what we have observed and learned. These hybrid environments are complex: the real challenge is to embrace this complexity by trying to simplify it “.