According to a recent survey detailed by Forbes, 77% of respondents were more likely to apply for a job posting that listed “kindness” as an important value of the company.
Is kindness one of the driving values of your business? This isn’t a joke. This isn’t pie in the sky. It’s not just touchy-feely language. It’s backed by research, as reported in two recently written articles.
Here are a few findings from the recent Forbes article referenced above:
- Kindness at work is a bigger predictor of happiness than income.
- Feeling valued is one of the biggest contributors to workplace happiness.
- Doing purposeful work is directly linked to levels of happiness at work.
- 74% of respondents said it’s important to have a kind community in the workplace such as having leaders check in on their team members for professional and personal support.
- 89% of workers see mental health and kindness as high priorities in the workplace.
The article goes on to say:
Kindness sends the message that employees are valued human beings, not just worker bees. It boosts safety and belonging, which in turn, improves job engagement, satisfaction and performance. When employees feel cared about, they engage in better teamwork, and they are creative risk takers, willing to stick their necks out and stretch beyond customary bounds. In a kind culture, workers tend to be masters of self-correction, good problem solvers and solution focused. What more would a company want from their employees when these qualities add up to raising the competitive edge and promoting the organization’s bottom line?
From “Why Kindness at Work Pays Off,” an article in Harvard Business Review:
When anxiety is high and morale is low, kindness isn’t a luxury — it’s a necessity. With mass layoffs, economic uncertainty, and geopolitical tensions, kindness is needed now more than ever, especially at work.
Research suggests that kindness yields positive outcomes for businesses. If you’re an emerging leader, being kind to your employees can help you retain top talent, establish a thriving culture, increase employee engagement, and enhance productivity. When people receive a compliment or words of recognition, it helps them feel more fulfilled, boosts their self-esteem, improves their self-evaluations, and triggers positive emotions. The result: happier, more engaged employees.
At an individual level, when you engage in acts of kindness, it boosts serotonin and dopamine — neurotransmitters in the brain that promote feelings of satisfaction and well-being. It also releases endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers.
This is something we’ve tried to instill within Barry-Wehmiller for a long time — making kindness an organizational value. It’s at the core of our value statement that says, “We measure success by the way we touch the lives of people.”
We hope to encourage kindness in leaders to those within their span of care, kindness toward fellow teammates, kindness toward our customers and suppliers. It starts with building empathy.
When we have empathy, we understand, respect and value others’ perspective. As leaders, we can cultivate empathy in our organizations by bringing people together in a respectful dialogue to share ideas and solve problems together.
As leaders we should also strive to create work environments where our team members feel safe, loved and comfortable being their true selves.
Kindness is integral in showing people that you care. This is an opportunity we have every day. We do so by giving people the chance to be who they were intended to be — allowing them to discover, develop, share and be appreciated for their gifts so that they go home knowing that who they are and what they do matter. In this way, our actions daily affirm and demonstrate that everybody matters.
When we show kindness — and therefore care — it becomes contagious.
And it goes beyond the responsibilities of leaders. It is the responsibility of everyone in an organization.
One of my revelations in my journey of Truly Human Leadership is that everyone is someone’s precious child. If we truly believe this, showing care, kindness and compassion for our fellow team members should be as natural as the care we show to our families.
Empathy, respecting and valuing others’ perspective, naturally leads to kindness. A work environment rooted in kindness strengthens the foundation of any business and, above all, impacts the health, well-being and overall quality of life of its team members.
And the most fundamental way to show someone you care about them, the most fundamental way to validate their worth, is by listening to them with empathy. Imagine the impact if this were the default behavior in our communities around the world!
When we demonstrate kindness, when we act in empathy, when we show people that they matter, we can restore, honor and protect the sense of dignity that is a basic human need. This is how a good job, positive work environments and business itself can work toward ending the poverty of dignity that exists in the world.
It’s almost ridiculous that we even have to talk about kindness in business, it should be an understood principle in every aspect of our lives. But when we look at the world today, we see an astounding lack of kindness in people. Not just in the darkness of social media, but in the simplest interpersonal interactions.
In business, we started to lose our sense of kindness when we started depersonalizing the people within and started looking at them as simply numbers. When they were no longer someone’s precious child, it became easy to extract kindness from the equation.
So, let this blog post be a reminder to constantly reexamine our behavior. It costs nothing to emphasize kindness in your business. But, as research shows, when kindness is not an organizational behavior, the costs can be extraordinary. To your business, to the lives of the people touched by your business.
As the Dalai Lama said: “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”