Kindness and performance are not mutually exclusive. Practising kindness and graciousness at work can lead to better performance and profitability.
In today’s fast-paced and highly competitive business landscape, kindness appears to be irrelevant. It can almost be seen as a hindrance which possibly slows us down and dulls our competitive edge. That is what some may think. But I would like to suggest that kindness is good for business and is more relevant than we think.
Many behavioural studies have shown that practising acts of kindness has a positive effect on a person’s happiness, satisfaction in relationships, and even one’s physical and mental health.
Here’s the science. When we are kind to others, our brains “reward” us by releasing a mixture of chemicals, including dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin which makes us feel good. 1 In fact, it has been found that doing a kind act not only bestows a sense of satisfaction on the receiver, but also the one who performed the act, and all those who have witnessed it.
But what does that have to do with achieving business objectives? What is the benefit to us as employers and employees to practise kindness and graciousness in the workplace? Is it simply something that is “good to have” but not essential, or deemed unimportant, compared to the need to scale up our performance and increase the bottom-line?
The truth is, kindness and performance are not mutually exclusive. In fact, practising kindness and graciousness at work can lead to better performance and profitability. Researchers at the Harvard Business School found that happy workers who enjoy their work and have fun working together perform their jobs better.
Professor Teresa Amabile and Mr Steve Kramer of the Harvard Business School found that “People are more productive, creative, committed, and collegial when they have positive emotions… and when they are motivated by intrinsic interest in the work itself.” 2
According to The Huffington Post 3, “66 per cent surveyed say that positive relationships increased their productivity and 55 per cent say that positive relationships mitigate on-the-job stress levels.”
When kindness and graciousness are deeply rooted in the corporate culture, the business will profit from higher levels of employee engagement, greater synergy and loyalty, and more fulfilling working relationships. This translates into a more motivated workforce and
lower staff turnover, so employers can better retain talent. Furthermore, engaged and invested employees will be more proactive in innovating and creating solutions for the organisation, whether these be for external marketing or for internal processes. The net result is higher profitability in more ways than one. In sum, kindness is good for business.
1 Hamilton D, 2011, 5 beneficial side effects of kindness, The Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-r-hamilton-phd/kindness-benefits_b_869537.html.2 Connecting Happiness and Success, Increasing productivity and profitability with happiness, http://connectinghappinessandsuccess.com/other-happiness/happiness-at-work/increasing-productivityand-profitability-with-happiness/.3 Hall A, 2015, The key to happiness at work that has nothing to do with your actual job, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/04/happiness-at-work_n_6613358.html.IMAGE: 123RF
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