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Kindness in the Workplace: How Acts of Goodwill Can Improve Performance and Company Culture


In today's competitive business environment, companies are always looking for ways to gain an edge over their competitors. While investing in new technologies and business strategies is important, one often overlooked factor that can significantly impact performance and culture is kindness. Simple acts of goodwill between colleagues can help foster stronger relationships, boost morale, reduce stress, and improve productivity.


Today we will explore how intentional kindness in the workplace can create a positive ripple effect throughout an organization.


Defining Workplace Kindness


Before delving into specific ways kindness benefits companies, it's important to define what is meant by "kindness" in a professional context. At its core, kindness at work involves treating others with compassion, respect, and generosity. Some key aspects include:


  • Helping out coworkers without expecting anything in return. Assisting with tasks or providing advice and support as needed.

  • Being considerate of others’ feelings and circumstances. Checking in on colleagues who may be struggling personally or professionally.

  • Creating an environment of positivity, politeness and inclusion. Making an effort to engage with all team members regardless of roles, perspectives or backgrounds.

  • Appreciating others' contributions through words and actions. Saying thank you, acknowledging a job well done and celebrating successes together.

  • Resolving conflicts or disagreements respectfully through open communication instead of hostility.


While small, frequent acts of workplace kindness may seem insignificant, research shows they can lead to substantial benefits for employee well-being, collaboration and productivity.


Improved Morale and Motivation


One of the most notable impacts of kindness is higher morale among employees. Feeling valued, supported and part of a cohesive team helps boost positivity and job satisfaction. Appreciation and compassion from coworkers and managers leaves people feeling motivated to do their best work. Acts like celebrating a job anniversary with a small gift or congratulating someone who overcame a challenge signal that their contributions are worthwhile. Over time, the positive feedback builds confidence and makes people want to keep improving.


Studies have found morale is a strong determinant of employee engagement. Disengaged workers are less productive and more likely to leave their jobs. According to Gallup, companies with high employee engagement experience up to 21% higher profitability compared to those with low engagement levels. Simple daily kindness can make a difference in whether people feel excited about their work or just going through the motions.


Reduced Stress and Improved Well-Being


A caring, warm culture has also been shown to reduce workplace stress levels. Dealing with stressful circumstances is much less taxing when you feel supported by your peers. Lending ears to listen without judgment and offer emotional support during difficult times eases burdens on colleagues. Small gestures like bringing someone their favorite snack on a tough day or checking in after a family emergency shows them they aren't alone in coping with life challenges.


Less stress translates to better health, both mentally and physically. Reduced cortisol and higher satisfaction improves immunity and lowers risks for cardiovascular disease and depression. Workers also take fewer sick days when the workplace provides relief instead of additional pressure. Some companies have implemented mindfulness programs and gratitude journals to promote daily de-stressing and kind acts as preventative well-being strategies. An environment where people look out for one another’s well-being makes collaborating easier and more enjoyable.


Improved Collaboration and Problem-Solving


Kind workers foster stronger relationships and higher emotional intelligence within a team. Feeling cared for inspires people to reciprocate care when helping others complete their work. They are more open to compromise, willing to clarify misunderstandings, and focus on mutual understanding over individual interests.


This fosters collaborative innovation as different viewpoints are shared freely without defensiveness. Employees going the extra mile to lend support or utilize their network to solve problems shows they view their coworkers’ challenges as their own. It builds rapport that transfers to natural cooperation when tackling complicated projects together.


Diverse perspectives are incorporated easily as people feel safe voicing alternative ideas without fear of criticism. As a result, teams find more comprehensive solutions and capitalize better on everyone's skills. Data supports this, as Gallup research concluded kindness was strongly correlated with higher problem-solving abilities. Overall, compassion and inclusion inspire the seamless teamwork needed to accomplish ambitious goals.


Enhanced Customer Service and Reputation


When internal collaborations run smoothly due to mutual care and respect between coworkers, external customer interactions benefit as well. Employees carrying over positive attitudes to interactions with clients pass on feelings of goodwill. People are generally more patient, responsive and empathetic when serving others after experiencing those qualities themselves at their job.


This kindness leaks into the brand identity as customers notice and appreciate the change. They may recommend the business to others or become repeat customers based on interactions with personnel. Employee happiness is also contagious on social media where positive workplace experiences can be shared. A caring company reputation attracts top talent interested in the culture as much as the work. In the end, prioritizing compassion creates customers and colleagues that become valuable advocates.


Putting Workplace Kindness into Practice


While the concept of kindness seems simple, intentional efforts are needed to manifest its benefits consistently within organizations:


  • Leadership Buy-In - Executives must visibly role model and promote caring behavior to set clear expectations. Their "open door policy" signals prioritizing employee wellness alongside traditional metrics.

  • Communication Platforms - Surveys and anonymous comment boxes gather worker feedback. Ideas are shared through newsletters for thoughtful gestures people appreciate.

  • Recognition Programs - Creative awards like "Above and Beyond" highlight those going out of their way to help others each month. Bulletin boards showcase community involvement.

  • Training - Workshops provide skills for active listening, conflict resolution, and sensitivity to diversity of experiences.

  • Ergonomics - Adjustable furniture and equipment prevent discomfort. Noise-reducing policies shield people during sensitive calls.

  • Social Events - Potlucks and team-building activities outside work foster bonds in low-pressure settings.


With forethought and consistency, companies of all sizes can derive huge dividends from cultivating kindness as a core part of operations and metrics of success.


Conclusion


In today's competitive job market, companies compete for top talent as much as for customers. Those wishing to thrive know they must appeal to employees' desire for meaning, respect and well-being, not just skill development. Instilling workplace kindness through attentiveness, compassion and community elevates morale, mental health, collaboration and reputation to deliver unparalleled results. When leaders commit to fostering an inclusive culture where coworkers genuinely look out for each other, it creates engaged and empowered workforces. As a strategic asset, the dividends of kindness far outweigh minimal investments of effort; it gives companies a sustainable competitive advantage for success in challenging times.

 

Jonathan H. Westover, PhD is Chief Academic & Learning Officer (HCI Academy); Chair/Professor, Organizational Leadership (UVU); OD Consultant (Human Capital Innovations). Read Jonathan Westover's executive profile here.



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