Celebrate workplace kindness in the coming days for “Be Kind to Humankind Week”!
Like kindness itself, Be Kind to Humankind Week (#BK2HK) has spread far and wide thanks to one individual’s actions.
In 1988, founder Lorraine Jara was heartbroken by a story about a young man who died after several people refused to assist in a boat rescue in frigid waters. When asked for permission to use his radio antenna to call for help, one passing boater reportedly said, “We don’t want to be bothered.”
Jara started Be Kind to Humankind Week as a way to encourage kindness in memory of the young man.
“People need people; it’s as simple as that! In order to have the power to make the world a better place, we must first change our attitudes for the better,” she writes on her website.
Not all acts of kindness are a matter of life and death, but even simple choices in how we interact on a daily basis are powerful. In the workplace, a culture of kindness keeps your company robust, healthy and happy.
5 Ways Workplace Kindness Transforms Company Culture
Kindness spreads through action. When you’re kind to someone, it inspires them to pass on the kindness. That means a single instance of kindness can spark big changes in company culture — especially when managers model and encourage it from the top down.
As workplace kindness grows, you will notice:
1. More creativity
“Unkindness comes from a place of negativity, and negativity is stifling. Negativity shoots down ideas, sabotages relationships and prevents growth,” writes Cutler PR founder Zach Cutler in the Entrepreneur article, “Reasons Not to Be Mean in Business.”
Kindness, in contrast, encourages coworkers to share their ideas, discuss opinions and speak up about problems — without fear! In this way, kindness is a key to innovation.
“Innovation comes from open minds and positive attitudes, not bitterness and harsh words. Optimism allows people to achieve great things,” Cutler writes.
2. More business
What happens when employees feel free to be creative and share ideas? Business expands and your company builds good karma.
A culture of kindness doesn’t just build goodwill internally. It’s also reflected in how your company leadership and employees interact with customers, business and community partners, and even your competitors! The kinder you are, the more people want to work with you!
As Cutler writes, “Seeking advice, help and favors is a lot more difficult without any friends in the industry. No one wants to play with the kid throwing sand in the sandbox. Be nice and others will return the favor.”
3. Fewer sick days
Researchers call it “helper’s high” — the good feeling you get from helping others and being kind. It’s not a mind game! Being kind elevates levels of the brain’s natural versions of morphine, which we know as endogenous opioids, according to author and scientist David R. Hamilton, writing for HuffPost Healthy Living.
Kindness also improves heart health, slows aging and strengthens our relationships — building our immune and social support system.
4. A sustainable engagement tool
It’s no coincidence that kindness feeds on itself and spreads so quickly. Since it activates drug-like chemicals in our brains, being kind is actually physically addictive — in the best possible way! — and contagious to others.
“When we’re kind, we inspire others to be kind, and it actually creates a ripple effect that spreads outwards to our friends’ friends’ friends — to three degrees of separation,” Hamilton writes.
As an employee engagement tool, encouraging kindness is a smart investment because it’s self-sustaining. By encouraging acts of kindness — such as a company-wide volunteer day — you promote active engagement.
5. The workplace of the future
A kind workplace is the workplace of the future, according to Great Place to Work Institute‘s Ed Frauenheim and Robert Levering.
Harsh work environments will soon be history, Frauenheim and Levering argue in their must-read Fortune column, “What Amazon’s Workplace Controversy Says About the Future of Work.”
Workplaces that foster trust, transparency and happiness aren’t just good places to work. Research shows they’re also beating the competition.
“In the 21st century, people are demanding better of the companies in their lives. Old-school companies that live by the law of the jungle, that treat people as disposable, will fade. The fittest cultures today are human-centered, high-trust workplaces. These are the ones likely to flourish,” Frauenheim and Levering write.
So ignite a chain of gratitude in your workplace by sharing your kindness today. You’ll feel good, you’ll make others feel good and you’ll be helping build the foundation for sustained success.
For more great tips and insights into building a vibrant culture of engagement and recognition, be sure to download our free e-book, “The Top 20 Employee Engagement Blogs You Should be Reading.”
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