This is a guest post by our Customer Service Advisor, Kristen Beer. She’s very kind.
World Kindness Day is on Friday, 13 November. Just like with Global Handwashing Day, even amid a global pandemic, sometimes people need awareness days to remind them of things they should be doing automatically. As such, we’re taking a look at the importance of kindness in business.
Success in business is often portrayed in pop culture as being achieved through greedy tactics, a cutthroat attitude, and a drive to win at all costs. Those traits are often viewed positively, despite the conducted business being less than legitimate. Characters played by Michael Douglas, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Meryl Streep display cold, cynical, and borderline psychopathic personalities, using other people as playthings and stepping stones to their own success. They display anything but kindness in their treatment of other people with a clear insinuation that their business success is achieved because of the way they are.
However, the mood appears to be changing. With the Covid-19 pandemic providing a powerful catalyst, many large companies have been criticised for the manner in which they treated staff during the pandemic, with many experiencing calls for customer boycotts as a result of their perceived insensitivity. The message is clear. There is an appetite among consumers for a fairer, kinder society, with only 12% of Britons yearning for a return to “exactly as it was before”, and the already beleaguered high street is hardly in a position to argue.
In the age of hyperconnectivity, social media, and up to the minute news, firms can, and will, be judged in the immediate aftermath of their actual behaviour, rather than their ‘claimed’ behaviour. Corporate social responsibility reports and ‘quirky’ Twitter feeds won’t count for anything in light of high-profile missteps.
So, what does kindness in business involve?
This is a broad question and one that is up to each organisation to consider how to best implement a kinder workplace. The act of recognising they can do better is positive in itself, and by identifying areas for improvement, then defining actionable, measurable steps to facilitate these improvements, any organisation can immediately start being more considerate. Likely outcomes range from improving workplace morale – and subsequently performance – to better public perception. 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is key to success, therefore increasing compassion, consideration, empathy, and integrity (all components of the intangible kindness) can only be a good thing for all concerned.