Kindness in the workplace is a big part of cultivating a happy, engaged workforce. What better time to celebrate it than this week during Random Acts of Kindness Week?
The theme of #RAKWeek2018 is “Who’s your one?” — as in, Who’s the person who starts the chain reaction of kindness in your life? Just one kind person can spread kindness across an entire team or community.
This year, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, a nonprofit organization started in 1995 in Denver, is inviting everyone to tell a story about “that one person who inspires you to be a better human being.”
It could be a friend, parent, child, sibling, teacher, coach, teammate, mentor or coworker — anyone who inspired you in your life in a big way, or just brightened your day for a few minutes.
“We all have someone who has gone above and beyond to show us kindness; someone who shifts our perspective, helps us through painful moments or inspires us to be kinder in our daily lives,” according to the RAK Foundation website.
The workplace may not be the first place we think of kindness. Research shows it is often the last place we express gratitude to one another.
Increasing kindness in the workplace is a worthwhile pursuit, according to Liz Jazwiecis, author of Eat That Cookie!: Make Workplace Positivity Pay Off … For Individuals, Teams and Organizations, in the ReliablePlant blog post “5 Ways to Start a Kindness Revolution at Work.”
“For many, the workplace is where kindness goes to die,” Jazwiecis says. “It is impossible to think that our lack of kindness doesn’t affect the work environment. The reason most people leave jobs is either because of their boss or their coworkers. Trust me, kindness can make a difference with team members.”
After all, she says, “You are all working toward the same goals.”
Looking for some inspiration for spreading kindness in the workplace? We scoured the news for inspiring stories of kindness in the workplace, just in time for #RAKWeek2018 — but, really, kindness never goes out of style.
Kindness in the Workplace: 4 Stories to Inspire Your Team
1. ‘Send a Snuggle’ Event — Better than Sending Flowers!
A humane society in Indiana is raising money through its “Send a Snuggle Day” for Random Acts of Kindness Week. Anyone can order one of 15 “animal ambassadors” — including an albino snake, two goats, a rabbit, an adoptable kitten, a miniature horse and, of course, six dogs — to visit a person or team of their choosing.
Volunteers accompany the animals into banks, schools and other workplaces to spread a little cheer and kindness.
Rebecca Warren, executive director of the Monroe County Humane Association, tells the Indiana Daily Student that when Send a Snuggle visits a workplace, it’s usually not just one person who gets the snuggle.
“It becomes an entire facility response. I mean, we walk from office to office to other departments. Everyone’s taking pictures and getting down on the floor. At least three people cry. Send a Snuggle is the best day of the year to do my job. … People get so excited when they see the animal. I mean it just breaks up the monotony of what they were doing and totally puts a stop on the whole production of the day. It’s wonderful to be on the other end of the leash just to see people get so excited and emotional about it.”
2. ‘A little too cheery? … Maybe, but it works.’
Chicago Tribune columnist Rex Huppke wrote in 2016 about kindness in the workplace and solicited feedback from readers. He received “dozens upon dozens of thoughtful replies,” including this one from Megan Gaffney, account manager at the Chicago-based company Meeting Tomorrow.
“I often ask myself how the company I work for was not only able to wrangle up 60 decent humans, but also ensure they are really nice people … who are nice to one another. Meeting Tomorrow has developed a group of people that I actually really enjoy spending most of my waking life with. Even on days that I’m in the office pits, Meeting Tomorrow finds something to remind me that things aren’t so bad. Anything from our office Thank Yous … to walking around after a staff meeting writing down all the things we are thankful for in each co-worker make Meeting Tomorrow stand out from the rest. A little too cheery, you might say? Maybe, but it works.”
3. Kindness of boss leaves lasting impression
A person’s kindness is often what we remember most about them. In the obituary for Florida photographer Bruce Wilson, Sr., his former employees remember him as an exceptionally hardworking and kind boss.
He was kind in little, habitual ways that made a lasting impression, recalls one longtime employee:
“He would always greet us each morning as we came into the office, and he just had a great sense of humor about him. He would make these off-handed remarks that would make us all crack up laughing. He was such a gentleman, a truly great person. There are so many precious memories I have of him, that we all have of him.”
4. ‘It will come back, some way, somehow.”
An employee at the Coborn’s grocery store in Hastings, Minnesota, made the news recently when she paid for a customer’s groceries after a big snowstorm. The customer had taken a different car to work due to the 10-inch snowfall and forgotten her purse at home.
“I just think that is completely above and beyond anything that is expected of her at her job and I think people a lot of times are crabby at work and it is so wonderful to see someone who is just selfless,” the customer, Tracey Johnson, told the West Central Tribune.
The cashier, Kim Nyberg, recognized Johnson as a regular customer and wanted to make sure Johnson would be able to get her family dinner that evening.
“I don’t have a lot of money, but it’s like, why not,” she said
Nyberg has been working at Coborn’s for about 10 years and it isn’t the first time she has paid for a customers groceries. She once helped someone out with gas money and a couple years later they came into the store to pay her back.
Johnson also returned to pay Nyberg back. She even tried to give her a little extra as a Thank You, but Nyberg made sure to give her back the exact change.
Nyberg said she doesn’t pay for customer’s groceries or gas in order to be recognized. It is to help them out. She said if she is able to help out she doesn’t see a reason not to.
“It will come back, some way, somehow,” Nyberg said.
Her act of kindness will be repaid to her soon (if it hasn’t already). Research shows kindness breeds more kindness. Even a person who witnesses an act of kindness in the workplace as a bystander will be inspired to pass it on!
Download Your Employee Celebration Calendar
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