ISE Columnist Sharon Vollman

At least 1 in 4 people quit their job this year, according to data from Viser. This Q4 report shares voluntary departures from over 50 US enterprise companies and upwards of 500,000 employees across industries. (Source:

The Great Resignation, as many are calling it, is a symbol of people reevaluating their lives due to the COVID-related chaos we’ve all been feeling since January 2020.

Surveys across the Internet share why employees are leaving their current jobs to find what matters most to them. Some leave for more money, prestige, or to follow their passions. Others leave to find greater work/life balance. Many say they are looking to work for managers who are empathetic. (Source:


Catalyst’s recent survey of nearly 900 US employees shows how the under-rated soft skill of empathy impacts employee innovation, engagement, and maybe even retention: 

  • 47% of people with highly empathic managers report often or always being innovative at work, compared to only 13% of people with less empathic managers. 
  • 67% of people with highly empathic managers report often or always being engaged.
  • When people feel their leaders are more empathetic, 86% report they are able to navigate the demands of their work and life: successfully juggling their personal, family, and work, obligations. This compares with 60% of those who perceive less empathy.

Does this directly translate into employee retention? That’s more difficult to measure. But IF empathy and kindness make a difference in how employees feel — shouldn’t we be that way simply because it’s the right thing to do? 

Call me idealistic, but I suggest we give our team members an important gift this season. 

You already know what it is. It’s not expensive. But it does require letting your guard down. The good news is there’s no need for gift wrap, bows, or extravagant presentations. 

Just put the raw and unfancy gift of EMPATHY out there for every person to see and feel. Don’t wait for the holidays. Do it now.



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About Sharon Vollman

Sharon Vollman is Senior Vice President, Editorial Director of ISE magazine. She oversees all editorial processes and staff for ISE magazine, the ISE e-newsletter,, and leads the educational content development for ISE EXPO and several events. Vollman has created educational partnerships with the major communications and entertainment providers including AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, Frontier Communications and Cincinnati Bell. She has covered the telecom industry since 1996, when she joined OSP magazine as editor. Prior to that she worked in advertising with Ogilvy & Mather and CME. Vollman has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/advertising from the University of Iowa.