What’s a RAKtivist? A “kindness ambassador” who spreads joy through random acts of kindness (RAK).
A workplace RAKtivist is someone who purposefully brings kindness into a space where we’re least likely to give it or expect it: at work.
Encourage employees to adopt a “workplace RAKtivist” attitude! From the CEO to interns, an attitude of kindness is a powerful tool that increases generosity, happiness and appreciation in the workplace.
How does it work? The spirit of Random Acts of Kindness Week spreads like wildfire through small acts of kindness in everyday life. Workplace RAKtivists make seemingly small behavioral choices that affect others in big ways!
The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation explains:
There are plenty of things we know we should do. In fact, there are dozens of them – so it’s easy for things to fall down the priority list. But this is the time of year we bump ‘being kind’ right up to the top of that list – and we’d like you to join us.
The organization provides a great list of 50 Ideas for Random Acts of Kindness Week. It’s up to you and your employees to pick and choose your favorites. Becoming a workplace RAKtivist is a creative endeavor and adaptable to any company culture!
In the workplace, kindness means more than just “being nice.” Read on for the scientific reasons your #RAKweek celebration matters all year long!
Kindness Disrupts “the Circle of Ingratitude”
A John Templeton Foundation study of 2,000 Americans found that people are less likely to feel or express gratitude at work than anywhere else. It isn’t that people don’t want to express or experience gratitude — in fact, nearly all reported that even saying “thank you” to colleagues “makes me feel happier and more fulfilled.”
Yet on any given day, only 10 percent actually do express gratitude. More than half reported they “either never express gratitude at work or do so perhaps once a year.” Once a year!
What’s the deal?
“It may be because in theory, no one gives away anything at work; every exchange is fundamentally economic. … Your ‘thanks’ is a paycheck,” writes Greater Good Science Center’s Jeremy Adam Smith in “Five Ways to Cultivate Workplace Gratitude.”
“The result is a vicious, culturally ingrained circle of ingratitude, which can have a terrible effect on workplace morale and cohesion,” Smith writes.
A paycheck is only one motivator in the workplace. But we’re also motivated by…
- a sense of accomplishment
- a feeling of purpose
Gratitude is a “non-monetary way to support those non-monetary motivations,” according to Smith.
Your workplace RAKtivist status will fuel a culture of gratitude because it disrupts the common attitude that work is just an economic exchange.
Kindness Gives Us a Precious Resource — Time!
“The research demonstrates that spending time on others makes people feel like they have done a lot with their time,” Marguerite Rigoglioso writes for the Stanford Graduate School of Business magazine.
Here’s the kicker: the researchers also found that the more people feel they have done with their time by helping others, the more time they will feel they have. This is welcome news for the legions of workers today who suffer the stress of time pressure. (According to Rigoglioso, twice as many Americans would prefer two weeks of vacation over two weeks of extra pay!)
Being a workplace RAKtivist, it turns out, doesn’t only make us feel good. It helps us stay calm and productive at work!
Kindness Can Be Taught and Learned
“There’s a tendency to think that generosity and cooperation are produced by internal factors like someone’s inherent altruism or empathy,” according to a Stanford GSB article on the research of Rob Willer, a professor of sociology, psychology and organizational behavior.
Willer’s research shows that altruism, compassion and other prosocial behaviors are heavily influenced by outside pressures — such as the support and encouragement of a supervisor or public recognition for charity donations.
A manager has the power to shape a more prosocial culture “regardless of whether employees are intrinsically cooperative.”
In this way, “social mechanisms can help create productive and amicable groups of people who work well together,” writes Stanford GSB’s Lily B. Clausen.
Kindness is best learned by feeling it, according to Psychology Today’s Patty O’Grady. So, she concludes, random kindness (and being a workplace RAKtivist!) is “purposeful.”
How to Be a Workplace RAKtivist
Random Acts of Kindness Week is a great opportunity to encourage employees to be mindful of the everyday importance of workplace kindness. Anyone can be a workplace RAKtivist!
Recognize their random kindnesses publicly next week on social media with the hashtag #RAKtivist.
Want to make it official? Visit the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation RAKtivist page for info on how to nominate your own workplace #RAKtivists for their kind acts. The foundation even has a community manager to help with the nomination process and help your company get involved.
Want practical tips to build your Thank You culture every day this year? Click the image below to download gThankYou’s FREE Day-to-Day Celebration Calendar for tips on how to plan daily recognition and organize regular celebrations throughout the year. This one-of-a-kind eBook will help you to build an everyday culture of appreciation with month-by-month guides, case studies, research highlights, how-to recognition advice and celebration ideas for specific holidays and anytime!
Learn More About gThankYou!