SXSW 2021

The Empathetic Workplace


Today’s workplaces face unprecedented challenges as our world confronts a pandemic, a racial reckoning, environmental disaster, and economic turmoil simultaneously. Workers are experiencing fear, anger, depression, and isolation. The way we support each other through this challenging time will reverberate within our organizations for years to come. When we respond well to those in trauma, we build trust that yields increased productivity, engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty. Unfortunately, responding well is not always easy, sometimes for reasons beyond our control. This session will provide the tools to handle with empathy, composure, and confidence crises that arise in the workplace. It gives practical advice to help those who work with humans respond to issues that are uniquely human.

Related Media

Other Resources / Information


  1. The prevalence and cost of trauma at work
  2. How trauma affects the brain of those sharing a story of a difficult event and those hearing it
  3. The steps to an empathetic response to trauma, including how to recognize and manage our own compassion fatigue



Katharine Manning, President, blackbird

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