Workplace culture is the personality and character of an organisation and the sum of its traditions, values, attitudes, and behaviours. A culture of kindness has core values of kindness, respect, and compassion, with employees ultimately working towards creating a kind and caring environment to work in.
Research by HR consultants Towers Perrin found that the behaviour of managers and the culture of organisations are discouraging workers from contributing more at work. Additionally, a study by SME Loans found that 23% of the workforce in Britain has been bullied at work, and 25% admit to feeling left out in their workplace. Fostering a culture of kindness could help eliminate these issues in the workplace.
Benefits of a culture of kindness
Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report found that 85% of employees are not engaged or actively disengaged at work. This suggests that employee engagement needs to be improved in many organisations. A culture of kindness can help aid this and has been shown to lead to higher employee engagement. Action for Happiness, a UK-based charity also found that individuals who practice gratitude and kindness experience higher levels of life satisfaction in general. This could lead to a higher rate of employee retention. Research by Oxford University’s Saïd Business School found that happy workers are 13% more productive.
The benefits of a culture of kindness are vast, for both employees and employers. Research by the American Psychological Association found that small acts of kindness over a period of time increased job and life satisfaction.
How can a business foster a culture of kindness?
There are several ways in which a company can help create a culture of kindness. Creating an inclusive work environment, where all employees are valued and supported, regardless of gender, faith, ability, sexual orientation or ethnicity is crucial. Creating equal opportunities for all employees is also vital. This can be achieved through diversity quotas, for example.
Another way of fostering a culture of kindness is to ensure that leaders embody the values needed for this type of business culture. This includes values such as trust, empathy, respect, honesty, and compassion. By developing strong leaders with these values, employees will be positively influenced and so will the business culture overall. A cycle of kindness will begin to develop and will help the culture of kindness to grow and develop.
Alongside this, encouraging kind behaviour is key, with internal emails celebrating people’s acts of kindness being useful. Furthermore, setting aside particular days of the year where the company and workers can be encouraged to give back to the community can help to work towards a culture of kindness. An example of this could be a day where workers are encouraged to bring in food donations to give to the local food bank.
Sadly, kindness can be a somewhat overlooked trait in the modern-day business world. However, kindness and other soft skills should not be seen as weaknesses. Soft skills are just as important as hard skills, especially during the pandemic when skills such as communication and teamwork are vital. Ultimately, kindness can be used to create more effective business cultures, with more satisfied and engaged employees.
Zoe Lightowler likes to express herself through writing, baking, and anything crafty! Being chronically ill herself means she is very passionate about raising awareness of long-term illnesses, especially those which may be invisible to others. Zoe also loves animals, comedy films, and taking care of her many house plants.