The value of empathy, and in finding worth with what you do.

Adam Grant, of the Wharton School, studied workers at a call center raising money for student scholarships. This work can be particularly frustrating because only a small minority of calls lead to contributions. Grant assigned the workers to three experimental groups. In one, the workers heard a student speak about how the scholarship money had helped him. A second group simply received letters of thanks from students, while the third group had no contact with the students who benefited from the fundraising. The results were astonishing. After one month, call center workers who had heard the student speak more than doubled the calls they were making and tripled the amount of money they raised. In contrast, there was no change in the other two groups. Making a personal connection with a real person who benefited from their work allowed the call center workers to feel the true worth of their efforts; that contact put a real face to the fruits of their labor.