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Christine Assaf is a content specialist for Peridus Group, a boutique human capital consulting firm dedicated to assisting HR professionals and business leaders during crucial periods of growth and change. She is also the author and owner of HR Tact, a personal blog where Christine shares tips and insights about HR. She joins Mike Wood today to discuss the importance of practicing empathy as leaders. 

Job Seeking

Christine mentions getting laid off in the beginning of the year, not due to the pandemic, but as a result of bad timing. Mike asks her if she has observed an increase in empathy among hiring managers while searching for a new job. She has received more feedback from companies about the status of her applications recently than in the past, she replies, but empathy is something that should always be practiced in the hiring phase. Too often do people send out applications only to never hear back from the organizations they applied to. Job seekers deserve to know their status, even if they don’t succeed. 

Shared Experience

More and more companies have been acknowledging the shared experience that the world is going through, and are subsequently more understanding and considerate with their employees. People are not just losing jobs; they are witnessing their loved ones dying at a high rate. There is a global sense of anxiety even as people work and communicate, and these create a cognitive overload. People respond to cognitive overloads in various ways. Though it usually manifests as the fight-flight-freeze response, it can also show up in other deviant behaviors. The shift to the virtual workplace has brought with it a loss of physical proximity, with which it was easier to be more open and check up on people. 

HR’s Role

HR tends to abdicate the responsibility of mental health to EAP programs. However, the best thing an organization can do right now, Christine says, is to be transparent in their uncertainty and offer support. 


Christine Assaf on LinkedIn | Twitter

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