Kindness @ Work
Updated: Oct 18
A time tested culture building tool
Work and kindness may not be two words that you immediately link to each other. The former infers a list of duties with measurable outcomes. The latter is often viewed as a nice to have and its gauge more qualitative than quantitative for some.
However, kindness within a corporate structure creates an environment of teamwork, empathy, and trust. And for our
CEOs, and CFOs reading this kindness also increases productivity.
A recent study by the Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada (APEX), discovered that when teams are nice and treat each other with respect overall productivity increases. Here's the breakdown:
1. Workers have 26% more energy. That means they're all pumped up and ready to go!
2. Employees are 30% more likely to feel motivated and excited about learning new stuff and hearing new ideas.
3. Job satisfaction: 36% happier with their jobs and 44% more dedicated to their organizations. Basically, they really love what they do and are super loyal to their team.
Studies conducted by The Health Enhancement Research Organization (Hero), and the University of Pennsylvania also generated similar results.
A recent Harvard Business Review article correctly calls out that kindness is a must when you consider the unprecedented times we are living in and all that our society's been through these past couple of years. Not to mention that it makes recruiting top shelf candidates exponentially easier. A study by Zenger and Folkman revealed that
leaders that are not kind have a 1 in 2000 probability of being successful.
From our professional experience when we approach candidates with a potential opportunity, they closely scrutinize a company's public image and culture. Professionals closely identify with the companies they work for and want to make sure your organization supports their core values like honesty, respect, and kindness.
Furthermore there is research that affirms the beneficial health benefits in showing kindness. From reducing blood pressure to increasing endorphins, acts of kindness can improve the overall quality of your life. Candidates want to decrease stress and increase wellness and will look for tell-tale signs in your interviewers, leadership and overall culture.
Another thing to consider is the current workforce. Millennials and Gen Z make up the majority of the work population. Both groups prioritize wellness and feel most companies do not. Kindness has an amazing effect not only on the purveyor or recipient, but even to those observing the considerate action. It is called the cascade effect
according to research from the University of California-Berkley.
Just like the old adage bad news travel, so does good news like acts of kindness. The eye opening aspect of this is that only a handful of kindness advocates are needed to effect a change in their respective environments.
There are several ways people and companies can prioritize kindness.
Implementing an employee assistance program that provides comprehensive support for employees facing personal or professional challenges is a great start. This program goes beyond the traditional benefits package and offers various resources, including counseling services, financial aid, and career guidance. You can reward employees that go the extra mile with a Goodness Grant.
Stanford's Center for Compassion Education and Altruism Research provide several resources to help train leaders in corporate kindness. Patience and perseverance is key as any program implemented will take time to yield results. One thing is certain without leadership, and frontline managers onboard kindness initiatives will fail. Initiatives must come from a place of authenticity or employees will see it as one more thing they have to do to keep their jobs.
Studies show that employees will mimic or mirror what the leadership in their organization is doing. With this in mind kindness must start from the very top. What's great is that it is never too late even, if you've gotten it wrong in the past. Some quick ways to show kindness is to tell the team how much you appreciate them. Share something cool you did that has nothing to do with work. Encourage sharing ideas on how to make the culture better, and how to make products and services more relevant.
The truth is you can do all the right things and still come up short.
Why? Because some people don't want to be bothered with being kind. They just want to do their job, get paid, and disconnect.
Hiring candidates that embody kindness from the onset will make creating a culture of kindness much easier. Remember it only takes a handful of people to affect a change in culture. Once you start hiring those kindness warriors for each team and continue to encourage those that are still there your corporate culture will change for the better.
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