Committing random acts of workplace kindness this week with your team may feel like a novelty, a fun break from the daily grind.
You may find yourself thinking: what if every day could be like this?
Random Acts of Kindness Week is intended to be a springboard for the rest of the year. It’s our annual reminder that kindness should be the rule, not the exception. Why? Because it feels good!
But the long-term workplace benefits go beyond feel-good emotions, and that’s why cultivating workplace kindness is a growing HR trend.
When kindness is embedded in company culture, employees are healthier mentally and physically, more productive, more creative and all-around happier! Read on for tips on making workplace kindness a daily habit.
Why HR Teams Love Workplace Kindness
Random acts of kindness (RAK) are now encouraged as part of popular HR initiatives for employee engagement, according to the recent CBC News World Of Work article “Random Acts of Kindness Taking Hold in Workplace.”
“So-called ‘paying it forward’ is coming of age in the workplace,” writes CBC News’ Pierre Battah. As heartwarming stories of RAK spread on social media, “employers have been paying attention and are instituting initiatives to make random acts of kindness part of a more collaborative and kinder workplace culture.”
Besides lifting spirits, workplace kindness has a financial incentive. Battah points to a Harvard study that demonstrated that positive and affirming workplaces had a six-fold revenue increase over an 11-year period.
Adam Grant’s bestseller “Give and Take” also “clearly established the case that the greatest (and often least expensive) source of employee motivation comes from being of service to others,” Battah writes. The increased focus on RAK is working — as more employees get involved, they bring back inspiring stories that create a “motivational bonanza with lasting impact.”
“Employers are increasingly brokering opportunities for employees to feel good about giving with no ulterior motive,” Battah writes.
Keeping the Kindness Momentum Going
After the excitement of #RAKWeek, what’s next?
The CBC News article has several real-life examples of companies that have found ways to incorporate kindness into a regular employee practice.
One manufacturer provides small cards with the company logo and a RAK message for employees to hand out to each other and in the community as they performed acts of kindness. The cards acted like a game of tag: once you received a card, you were “it” and urged to pass the card on, along with an act of kindness.
Another company, a juice bar franchise, periodically asks employees to spend an entire work shift committing RAKs in the proximity of their business location.
It’s helpful to have a small budget for your HR team to promote a RAK program, but Battah says it’s not mandatory for success.
“You don’t need permission or a budget as part of a collective action in your workplace … You simply need to act. You just might be starting something with many wonderful unintended consequences to follow,” he writes.
Don’t Forget to Regularly Celebrate Workplace Kindness!
Random acts of kindness tend to be self-sustaining. Kindness works in a chain reaction, as recipients (and witnesses!) are inspired to pass it on to others.
Still, to reap the full benefits, it’s important to celebrate workplace kindness regularly. Celebrations and “kindness recognition” reinforce kind behaviors and make kindness the cultural norm and a daily habit.
All this week, people around the world have been sharing stories and photos of their acts of kindness on social media with the hashtags #RAKweek and #raktivist. Keep that public recognition going year-round within your company and in company communications with the public!
Besides talking about workplace kindness on social media or the employee newsletter, be sure to recognize individual employees or teams who practice daily kindness. Highlight a weekly or monthly act of workplace kindness and honor those involved with small gifts and a celebration.
Soon, every week will feel like #RAKweek!
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!
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