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Volume 25 No. 155
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Making Emotional Connections Key In Creating Successful Workplace

Silver since joining VaynerMedia in '14 has placed on emphasis on infusing empathy throughout the agency

VaynerMedia Chief Heart Officer Claude Silver believes empathy in the workplace is a core tenant of success. “The soil of strong teams begins with a connection, which leads to trust, which leads to empathy,” Silver said during the '18 SBJ Game Changers conference. “Once you start to trust someone, you start to feel something, you start to care about them.” Bringing empathy and humanity into the workplace was just one of the topics Silver touched on during her 45-minute featured address. Silver, who joined the digital agency led by Gary Vaynerchuk in ’14 after a career in advertising, spoke to conference attendees on the ways that she and VaynerMedia approach workplace culture, as well as tips that she has picked up in her role on how to foster empathy. “People will never forget how you made them feel,” she said. “I want to infuse empathy throughout the agency, and touch every single employee -- we went on this massive mission to bring humanity to the office, because I think we have forgotten to be human, we’ve truly forgotten to treat each other (in the workplace) like we treat our aunt, and instead treat each other kind of like robots.” 

WORDS TO LIVE BY: Silver offered numerous pieces of advice during her time on stage. The following are some of the highlights from her presentation:

* “It’s real hard to put your finger on culture, but you sure can feel the vibe -- that’s why I say culture exists in the shadows. Great culture has a very positive ROI, so it’s a no brainer, but there’s a lot of money being poured into kombucha and foosball tables trying to solve this issue.”

* “Creating a culture of belonging starts with each person bringing their whole self to work. In order for people to bring themselves, they have to feel safe -- both emotionally and physically.”

* “Culture is not just my responsibility, my team’s responsibility or Gary’s responsibility -- everyone has that responsibility. We all need to model the emotions and action you want to cultivate.”

* “We all want to feel alive in our careers. We all want to belong. We all want to feel emotionally and physically safe. We’re all wired to connect and be in a community together. In my head every day I ask myself, am I making this a place where everyone wants to feel like they belong and have a purpose?”

* “Achievement comes with lower case a acknowledgement. We all have egos, but people don’t want to sleepwalk through work, we all want to achieve something, whether it’s a Tweet that gets 50,000 retweets or ad copy that showed during an NFL game. We want to come to work and feel recognized.”

* “Connection, trust and empathy lead to accountability, longevity and resilience, which I believe teams who are rooted in that core value have a purpose together, making them agile and fast, which is how you win.”

* “You don’t get points for holding back. You have one life. Let’s live it.”