It’s a fact – Happier employees are harder workers, have less absenteeism and create a better work environment.
How can one encourage a happier work environment? A small but powerful way to do this is to incorporate kindness in the culture. As a Kindness Advocate for Schools and Corporations, I work with companies to create tailored plans that incorporate reflective journaling, kind acts and a lasting outcome for a long-term connected and caring culture.
Why is this important? It’s important because it not only benefits the company’s bottom-line. Most people want to be at a workplace with leadership that encourages caring behavior and actions.
How to encourage kind behavior in your work environment
- Be kind to your employees. Walk the walk of what kindness means.
- Kindness does not mean weakness. You can have high expectations and do it in a supportive, accountable atmosphere.
- Open communication. If things are not working, they are addressed and dealt with and encouragement of strengths not focusing on weaknesses is emphasized.
- A timetable where kind actions are encouraged and expected.
- Encouraging employees to share their stories so their voices are heard. Flexible work time when there is an ill family member or crisis situation proves belief in your workforce.
A recent Canadian library system brought in our keynote and workshop on Kindness and together we created a tailored kindness monthly plan, with employee input. Some of the simple but effective actions included keeping kindness journals where employees would reflect upon their actions during the week and even at home on the weekend. Other small but inclusive acts included remembering to look up from the computer when people passed by and to take more time for clients – even difficult ones – by looking at them through the lens of compassion more often.
Change does not happen overnight but smart leadership knows that a more caring workplace is a more productive one. Leaders and employees should work towards incorporating that in everything from their vision to staff communication and how their customers are treated in daily interactions.
Ask yourself as a leader or employee – what kind of caring attitude do you bring to the workplace? You don’t have to like everyone or condone their behavior but you do owe each person some understanding of their individuality as we all walk in different shoes but share the same earth. In fact, many believe that we are all inter-connected and, sometimes, the most difficult people are our greatest teachers: It is in our compassion for them that our strength of character comes to the surface.
As the international Random Acts of Kindness Week takes place, it’s a good time to reflect on how your work environment can incorporate the lasting lessons of kind actions. It’s a win-win for all around you.
Reflect on this powerful triple statement: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.” Buddha (563 – 483 BC)
Steffi Black is a New Directions Expert who empowers women in transition and young people at a crossroads to create a clear roadmap for life and career transitions. She is also a Kindness Advocate for Schools and Corporations and creates impactful ‘spreadthekindness’ keynotes and workshops.