February 2020 - Kindness Beyond Mr. Rogers

How many of you remember the “good old days” when watching Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood on TV was part of our daily routine?  What did we learn from tuning in? To tie our shoes perhaps, but our education went beyond that.  We learned about our feelings. We learned about how to play with others and to be a good friend. We learned about respect and the importance of listening.  We learned to be kind. Life lessons, if you will. 

So why I am talking about the “simple” idea of kindness today?  Because companies are beginning to recognize how instrumental they are in shaping their work environment, or culture, and changing employee mindsets. Turns out that companies that include kindness and compassion initiatives in their workplaces gain a competitive edge.   How so?

  • Kindness fosters trust within an organization.
  • Kindness increases employee engagement and loyalty to the company.
  • Kindness attracts and allows you to retain talent to your team.
  • Kindness and empathy allow for innovation and learning, creating a safe space for the failures that happen in trial and error.
  • Kindness is key to high quality service and brand loyalty.
  • Overall, kindness in the workplace improves business performance.

As a small business, what could you do to increase kindness in your company? According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, organizations should consider many different dimensions of kindness, but key ones enable them to embody kindness effectively. They include:

  • Institutionalize core values - ensures employees are held to high standards of trust, respect, and honesty
  • Endorse inspirational leaders - inspires trust, gratitude, equality, open communication, and relationships building
  • Promote diversity and inclusion and emphasize gender equality - fully develops all talent in their workforces, and to understand new markets and customer segments
  • Focus on employee wellbeing - cares about the health of their workforce that includes physical, mental, career, and family
  • Engender an environment of empathy - strives for a better society and advocates for opportunities through internal and external programs (e.g., corporate social responsibility (CSR))
  • Promote collaboration but recognize individual contribution - creates an environment that benefits from diverse perspectives
  • Foster Peer-to-Peer Support - recognizes the importance of peer assistance (e.g., Peer Awards, Personal Time Off Donations)

The costs of incivility in the workplace are huge. So here’s a call to action directly from the Business of Kindness Campaign, a partnership between the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Born This Way organization:

Invest in kindness. Let’s build stronger workplaces that foster and cultivate compassion, where teams are more productive, and employees feel valued and respected. 

Source: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Business Case for Kindness

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