Many people are quick to dismiss so-called “soft skills.” These skills might include communication, active listening, mediation, negotiation, or (the topic of this blog post) empathy. In truth, there is nothing “soft” about these skills. They are just as vital as company finances or operations. In fact, companies that lack these soft skills are far less likely to succeed than companies that embrace them. Picture a company that lacks empathy (which can be defined as the ability to experience and relate to the thoughts, emotions, or experience of others). In such a company, the leadership team doesn’t see its workers’ humanity—the very real struggles, needs, and emotions people grapple with every day. Instead, it sees numbers and productivity. In such an environment, the company doesn’t see the point of offering paid parental leave, or mental health resources, or affinity groups for underrepresented people. It may do the bare minimum to comply with laws and retain its workforce, but anything beyond that is considered superfluous. Would you want to work in this kind of cold, calculating environment? If not, you’re certainly not alone.