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7 Ways A Kindness Company Culture Can Boost Your Bottom Line

7 Ways A Kindness Company Culture Can Boost Your Bottom Line

Have you ever stopped to wonder what your company culture is centred around?

The topic of kindness at work would probably be considered controversial and unnecessary for a traditional organisation. However, as our need for happiness and satisfaction at work grows, kindness becomes a valuable and inexpensive method to change your company culture and boost your bottom line.

While in the past kindness may have been perceived as weakness, research is growing in support of the positive impact that a kindness company culture can have not only on your employees, but on your company’s success.

A primary concern for most companies in today’s economy is to ensure a secure bottom line, and to stabilise its workforce to guarantee consistent and sustainable income. And while this is a necessary consideration for any business to survive, the need for healthy and happy employees is imperative for any business to thrive. We know that a people focus builds profits, and while the tendency may be to lead the way we were led, if we are to create impactful and happy organisations we need to learn a new set of skills. Kindness, among other things such as resilience, engagement and purpose, plays a key role in building positive, productive workplaces.

For those of us who have experienced rudeness, pettiness or have been the butt of an office joke, the value of kindness is obvious. However, a growing body of research is showing some interesting and important findings about why a kindness culture in your workplace will boost productivity and serve your bottom line. Here are some of the findings:

  1. Kindness boosts customer satisfaction and sales

Customers want to be treated with respect, and if they have a negative experience with your staff they are likely to share their experience with others, and if you’re unlucky on social media. In today’s economy it is genuine kindness that can give your company the competitive edge as it encourages people to return and spread the word about your business.

     2. Only 10% of people say thank you at work

This statistic, while true, is also terrifying and begs the following questions: Do you thank your staff for their efforts? Do you make an effort to show appreciation for even the small roles that people play in keeping your company going? It is a fundamental human need to be respected and held in high esteem. We want to belong, and when we are validated for our efforts we begin to build positive relationships. So, next time someone brings you a coffee, or cleans your office, be sure to say thank you – it costs nothing!

    3. Kindness increases positive relationships in the workplace

Kindness in the workplace can be as simple as saying thank you, holding the door for somebody, or offering to assist a stressed colleague. However, it can be translated into even more beneficial behaviours such as the sharing of information. A company culture that encourages people to share resources, information and recognition is the true sign of a kind company culture. Sharing increases productivity, problem solving and creativity, thus producing better products with a greater impact.

    4. Kindness increases inclusion and reduces lawsuits

Sexual harassment, racism, homophobia and other common HR issues are any leader’s biggest nightmare, because on top of affecting the office climate they can have a serious financial and PR impact. Breeding a company culture of kind words, non-judgemental listening, and sharing is a sure-fire way to reduce these incidences. A company culture that values respect above bias, holds all employees in esteem and holds rude people accountable, sets a strong foundation on which to build inclusion and diversity, thus breaking down harmful stereotypes and the punishable behaviours associated with it.

   5. Kindness is contagious

We already know the power of a smile and how when someone smiles at us we share it with others. The same works for acts of kindness. When someone does even a small act of kindness we want to repay this kindness either to that person or to others. Random acts of kindness have a powerful impact on our happiness levels because it feels good to do good. Encouraging this company culture of small acts of kindness in the form of volunteering time, offering coffee or helping a colleague are a few small ways for you to start boosting kindness in your company and in turn grow the happiness levels of your team and the individuals which keep it going. No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

   6. A kindness company culture reduces absenteeism

A recent study into the cost of absenteeism because of stress-related conditions amounts to over £6.5 billion a year. Stress is therefore the number one biggest cause of absenteeism and loss of productivity to companies worldwide. It would be completely absurd to ignore the impact of stress on your employees as it has a direct impact on your bottom line.

Kindness is a small but effective first step to reducing stress in the workplace. As already mentioned, when there is a kindness company culture people are more willing to help each other, to share information which can ease another’s stress, and build positive relationships which reduce social anxiety and stress related to belonging to a team. Kindness is therefore a highly cost-effective strategy to reduce stress levels and combat the multitude of related conditions which are rising as a result.

   7. Kindness boosts attention and productivity

Research shows that when we are stressed or unhappy our attention is compromised. A good example is to consider how being tired affects your concentration, problem-solving ability, mistake making and time taken to complete a task. The same is true for unhappiness; it drains our cognitive capacity and in turn our quality and quantity of work output. As previously mentioned, kindness boosts well-being and overall happiness within an organisation which has a direct effect on the ability of your staff to achieve amazing results in a shorter time.

Take Home Message

There is a quote by the Dalai Lama that seems poignant to share at this time.

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.

Kindness is perhaps the most underrated practice that you can use to leverage the best from your employees and build a sustainable income. Kindness impacts each individual, the relationships they build and the customers they serve. It is therefore in the best interests of every company hoping to stay relevant and competitive to invest time in building a kindness company culture.

Please share this article with anybody you feel would benefit. Consider this your act of kindness for the day, as sometimes even the kindest people you know need to have their passion reignited.

Is your organisation psychologically safe?

Is your organisation psychologically safe?

Organisations are built around structures, policies and procedures. These organisational frameworks are there to make sure those tasks and services are delivered consistently and at a certain level. Your company may even adhere to the ISO (International Standards) that ensures that products and services are consistently delivered in a safe and reliable manner. In addition, it focuses on eliminating wastage, reducing errors and increasing productivity. It’s all good and well focusing on the physical safety, however where do we address our teams’ and peoples’ psychological safety? You may be thinking that we can’t possibly deal with that too, but you must, so I am going to tell you how.

Psychological safety is a term that was coined by Harvard Business School Professor Amy Edmondson and it refers to the shared belief that a team feels safe to take risks, to make mistakes, to learn from them and to try again. Teams who don’t feel psychologically safe will become distrustful, won’t want to communicate or contribute, won’t commit or be engaged and won’t be able to access their problem-solving skills. Leaders might be wondering what is up with the team dynamics because they are not collaborating as well as they should, but they can’t put their finger on the cause. What they need to do is to look at the team’s psychological safety.

A key symptom to look for is if the team feels comfortable and safe to speak up during conversations. Do people share ideas and thoughts freely or do they hesitate or hold back? Do team members openly debate ideas with respect and interest, or do they just pay lip-service where genuine thoughts are not verbalised? You can probably relate where you’ve been in a meeting where you sensed that people were merely going through the motions without feeling genuine deep interest and connection. Fear of speaking up or sharing ideas is an extremely common factor observed in organisations.

What can you do to change this? How can you as the leader start the process of transforming the team so that they feel psychologically safe? Here are six tips to get you going:

  1. Encourage team members to come up with ideas and suggestions. Acknowledge and appreciated the person as well as their idea because that will build trust and encourage further contribution.
  2. Foster the culture that your people come first. Making profits is a given for organisations to be sustainable. However, to sustain profits, performance and sustainability, an organisation needs happy employees. Put your people first before your clients and profits.
  3. Champion learning opportunities and allow people to share, talk and demonstrate their learnings. Apply learning to current work scenarios and be curious about the solution. Grow your people.
  4. Lead with vulnerability and fallibility. Risk being open and honest when you have made a mistake or not delivered as agreed. Be humble about not knowing answers to problems.
  5. Include every team member, especially the quiet ones. Encourage their contribution and remove the fear of saying the wrong thing. Recognise input from team members; it’s a gem!
  6. Be available for your team to connect with you when they need to. Agree how best to be respectful and mindful of each other’s times and work commitments.

When you think of safety in the workplace, it’s about physical and psychological safety. I hope that these practices will benefit you and your team to develop psychological safety so that you can have fun at work.

References:

Edmondson, A. (1999). Psychological safety and learning behavior in work teams. Administrative Science Quarterly, 44(2), 350-383.