In a Giving Culture, You Get a Lot Too
Companies with a giving culture are more successful.
They say it’s better to give than to receive. It turns out it could be way better!
Beloved Wharton School professor Adam Grant’s 2013 bestseller, Give and Take, used groundbreaking research to show that giving can have a revolutionary positive effect on all kinds of businesses. Givers are employees who help others regardless of whether they’re getting something in return. And the best-performing employees and leaders inevitably turn out to be givers. By taking steps to foster a giving culture, companies can significantly improve their productivity and efficiency, and their employee engagement and loyalty. One consulting firm estimated that implementing a giving culture saved it more than $250,000 and 50 workdays. A pharmaceutical company credited its giving culture with saving over $90,000 and 67 days of labor.
Boiled down, Grant’s discovery is simple enough: When people give freely, the co-workers they help want to reciprocate. Over time, givers amass a network of helpful colleagues and peers — in other words, givers inspire others to give. And in a giving culture, people are more apt to speak up and contribute. (The culture is critical, because it can be embarrassing to give if no one else is doing it.) Consequently, in workplaces with a giving culture, things get done faster by employees who are more personally invested.
It Takes Effort to Create a Giving Culture
Of course, there are wrinkles. The lowest performers in a company are often givers, too. As Grant notes in an article for the Harvard Business Review, these givers don’t give thoughtfully, and they give too much — they’re doormats who hamper their own success. To harness the true power of a giving culture, your company needs to help workers strike a balance, learning to assert their own needs and becoming comfortable with taking at the right times, too.
For instance, it’s crucial that employees in a giving culture get over the common fear of asking others for help. After all, you can’t give very effectively if you don’t know what your colleagues really need. One useful tool for getting employees to ask for help is a group exercise called the Reciprocity Ring, in which co-workers each share their own request and then talk and work together to help every participant find a solution.
Grant has been so impressed by the results of Reciprocity Ring sessions that he and his partners at Give and Take Inc. have even developed a knowledge platform called Givitas to make the kind of giving it inspires possible on a larger scale.
Though Grant’s ideas can feel a bit radical in a business world where competition is the norm, there’s a basic truth at their core: Things work better when we help each other. When you take steps to create a giving culture, you’re really just giving your employees permission to share more of their own strengths and benefit more from everyone else’s. As Grant puts it: “When it’s easy to seek and offer help, givers become more energized, takers become more generous, problems become more tractable, and groups become more successful.”
If that sounds promising, find out more about how gThankYou can help you build a culture where paying it forward is routine. Our Gift Certificates make it easy for you to be generous with your employees — and for your employees to be generous with one another, too!
Learn More About the Power of a Giving Culture
Grant’s message and research strikes a cord in all of us because it makes sense given our world experience. We know it’s true. The brilliance is translating the insights into helpful ways for businesses to understand and leverage the power of giving and gratitude. To learn more about Adam Grant and his research here’s a background piece from SHRM from this week’s annual conference, and his popular Ted Talks: The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers and Are You a Giver or a Taker?
It’s a good day to be inspired, we hope you are!
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