It would do Indian organizations good if they pick up a dictionary and imbibe the definition of ‘empathy’, for they are likely to be billed the least empathetic employers in the world, after the 2016 Empathy Global Index came out recently.
Released by ‘The Empathy Business’, a consultancy based in London, the ranking lists organisations across the world according to how empathetic they are on a yearly basis. The website states, “The way we define empathy is through a company’s ethics, leadership, internal culture, brand perception and public messaging via social media. We use publicly available metrics including CEO approval ratings amongst staff, ratio of women on boards, number of accounting infractions and scandals- among other metrics.” This year a carbon metric was added as well, and nearly two million tweets between 27th September and 16th October 2016 were analysed to rank the companies. In another new addition this year, Young Global Leaders from The World Economic Forum were also asked to rate the companies on a moral basis. Several Indian companies made it to the list this year, but their performance was largely dismal.
This year, of the 170 companies that were listed, eight Indian organisations were in the bottom 20 of the list, with seven of them in the bottom 11. The companies were given an ‘EmQ Score’, which was indicative of how empathetic the company is, with a maximum of 100 points up for grabs. Unsurprisingly, Facebook scored a perfect 100, and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, came in a second close 99.41.
However, let’s take a look at how some of the Indian companies performed:
- Company: ITC Rank: 69 EmQ Score: 60
- Company: Godrej Consumer Products Ltd. Rank: 104 EmQ Score: 39.05
- Company: Tata Motors Rank: 115 EmQ Score: 32.54
- Company: Infosys Rank: 139 EmQ Score: 18.34
- Company: Aditya Birla Group Rank: 147 EmQ Score: 13.61
- Company: Reliance Industries Rank: 158 EmQ Score: 7.1
- Company: State Bank of India Rank: 160 EmQ Score: 5.92
- Company: Indian Oil Rank: 164 EmQ Score: 3.55
- Company: L&T Rank: 165 EmQ Score: 2.96
- Company: Bharti Airtel Rank: 166 EmQ Score: 2.37
- Company: ICICI Bank Rank: 168 EmQ Score: 1.18
- Company: Sun Pharmaceutical Rank: 169 EmQ Score: 0.59
- Company: Bharat Petroleum Rank: 170 EmQ Score: 0
Internationally, the top 10 companies were Facebook, Alphabet, LinkedIn, Netflix, Unilever, Southwest Airlines, Microsoft, Whole Foods Market, Johnson & Johnson and SAP SE, in that order. In the Indian context, BP scored the lowest-score possible points, a zero, whereas ICICI, the largest private bank in the India scored 1.18 points. The best Indian performer was ITC with a rank of 69, and an EmQ score of 60. Infosys from the IT sector was ranked at 115, with a score of 18.34. It is rather disappointing that only one Indian organisation made it to the top 100. The last ten spots from ranks 160-170, seven Indian organisations made the cut.
However, it is important that the organisations that were listed towards the end, and their peers, make an effort to understand what can make them more empathetic and learn from the leaders in the list. Indices like these can hope to make a difference if employers act on the insights and are willing to change their approach, methodologies and policies to be supportive of their employees. This thought is more critical in today’s scenario, as employees are back at the core of every discussion that involves performance management, and employers being more empathetic will only solidify the working relationship between an employee and an employer.