Corporate attempts to quantify empathy show just how little companies value it: Stop trying to measure empathy.

In December of last year, I clicked on an article from Fast Company about the most empathetic companies in the world. In fact, that was the title: “These Are The Most Empathetic Companies In The World.” I remember skimming the piece made me want to launch my computer into the sun, especially after I clicked through to look at the survey and the overall methodology.


It’s been more than two months now, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about just how flawed and bad the entire underlying idea is: The idea that we can measure empathy.


I think about empathy a lot, whether I’m in a business setting or nowhere near one. What empathy looks and feels like and are those different things; whether I’m being empathetic or whether someone else is; how to be empathetic in a way that doesn’t emotionally exhaust everyone, and so on.

But I don’t much like to declare how empathetic I am because I often think empathy is sort of like teenage boys and sex. The more a teenage boy talks about how much sex he’s having, the more likely it is he’s having none at all.



 BY Leah Reich