Modern workplaces can be hot-houses of negativity, competitiveness, and stress. These kinds of environments can make employees feel as if they’re entering an assault zone on the daily.
This is clearly no way to live and work, but in many industries, it's the norm. That's why professional leaders need to make a concerted effort to foster a culture of kindness in the workplace.
For many business owners, success is a numbers game. The importance of workplace kindness can, therefore, seem irrelevant. What you might not realise, though, is that a culture of kindness has tangible benefits which will lead to happier staff and a better bottom line. If you're keen to learn more about the advantages of founding a workplace culture on the principle of kindness, then just keep on reading.
1. A positive and healthy workforce
After we leave school and university, our employer becomes, for all intents and purposes, our pastoral carer. That means that the physical and mental health of employees should be a prerogative for any company board. After all, the recipe is simple: well-rested, happy, healthy employees do better work. So what does this care look like in practice? Reasonable working hours, exercise options, and meditation classes are a good place to start. Looking after the whole person, body and mind, means that employees are much less likely to take chunks out of their sick leave.
There are also subtler ways that team leaders can look after their employees' wellbeing. In particular, social interaction is a proven stress-reducer in the workplace. This means that time spent bonding with colleagues can be seriously beneficial for the whole team. As a leader, it's important not to put too many restrictions on the content and duration of your workers' conversations. For many people, coming to work on a Monday and having a good old chin-wag is as good a spur to productivity as a cup of coffee. It's much better for their health, too!
2. Illustrate the "ripple effect" of one gesture or act of kindness
As Aesop once said, “No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” Building a workplace of kindness doesn't have to entail a systemic, resource-intensive overhaul. Simple gestures repeated often can be just as transformative. Giving a compliment, inviting your colleague for lunch, or offering congratulations are all little acts of kindness which cumulatively build a strong culture of compassion. Then there are the really exciting professional and personal events: getting married, being promoted, and having a baby. Surprising your employee or colleague with a thoughtful gift such as a gift basket will remind them why they love working where they do.
3. Higher employee engagement
What do you find in workplaces devoid of kindness? Disengaged workers, that's what. We all have friends whose days consist of enduring nine hours before a computer screen before clocking out and fitting in a few hours of real life. But our lives are too short – and we work too much – to view the daily grind as a prison-sentence in this way.
Engaged workers are workers who believe in what they do. They are people who are happy to turn up on Monday, ready to tackle that exciting new project or to offer new ideas to the boss. These workers are achievers who receive tangible praise from their employer when they're doing well and who are treated as unique individuals rather than as cogs in a machine. Ultimately, they're colleagues whose own levels of enthusiasm will dictate the success of the company at large.
Post by Johanna Cider
One of Johanna’s favorite movie quotes comes from Cinderella – “Have courage and be kind.” She hopes to inspire others by spreading as much kindness as she can. Visit Johanna’s personal blog, Musings of Johanna, to get to know her more.