How to create a culture of kindness in your workplace

How to create a culture of kindness in your workplace

13/11/2018 09:00:00 by Bev James

In recent years mental health and wellbeing at work have been given the attention it deserves. Employers and employees are taking the necessary steps to better ensure employee wellbeing is embedded in corporate, start-up and business culture.

However, there is a still a ways to go – government data shows that 45% of absences from work in the UK were accounted for by stress. Furthermore, an estimated 11.7 million working days were lost to stress, depression and anxiety in 2015-2016, according to HSE. Adopting a culture of kindness into your workplace can have a profound effect on employees wellbeing and overall sense of satisfaction. 

As a value, kindness reduces anxiety, increases happiness and, in its nature, is contagious. Within the workplace, it also strengthens connections between colleagues, which leads to a consistency in performance and a cohesiveness within teams. As, employees who are empathetic and warm ensure smooth collaboration and enhance the workplace experience both internally and externally, for your customers. Kindness at work creates a more productive, inclusive and successful environment.

Embedding kindness into your workplace serves your businesses bottom line. It will empower your employees to feel more connected to your company and its mission, whilst also increasing their job satisfaction. A culture of kindness can be incorporated into your business with a few simple steps: 

Remember it’s in the small things 

Acts of daily kindness are in the small things: smiling in the hallway, helping colleagues get to know each other, taking the time to celebrate milestones and birthdays. It is in these small, daily actions that a greater ethos of kindness, respect and friendliness is sown. Companies who take the time to foster and encourage these small but important acts of friendliness will reap the benefits.

Recognise your language matters 

The language you and your employees use at work is important. Christine Porath, the author of Mastering Civility, points out that rudeness in the workplace has harmful effects within teams. As Porath found, people who are exposed to rudeness are three times less likely to help others, and they are 50% less likely to share with their colleagues. Over time this incivility leads to a dysfunctional team and difficult workplace culture. Choose language that mirrors the desired goal to draw out the right language and behaviour in your employees. For example, you might choose to use words like ‘friendly,’ ‘teamwork,’ ‘empathetic’ in your communication and company ethos. In turn, these words align with the values of the organisation and create a standard that should be upheld.

Lead by example 

One of the simplest and most important ways bring kindness into your workplace is to lead by example. As the owner, manager, or team lead of a business it is important to embody the culture you want for your business. Demonstrate that you care and take the time to learn more about how your employees learn and work. Personality profiling tools such as DISC can be invaluable resources for this and allow you to truly understand that with people, and in business, a one-size fits all approach rarely works. As you incorporate a sense of understanding and acknowledgement within the workplace, you will create an environment that is centred in compassion and kindness. In turn, your employees will feel more comfortable at work and seek more opportunities to grow within the business. 

There are numerous benefits of practising kindness in business, including lower employee absenteeism rates, increased productivity, a greater sense of work satisfaction and lower staff turnover. Organisations who take the time to better understand their employees, support their wellbeing and inject kindness into their culture will enjoy these benefits and, ultimately, greater success. 


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