Building a Kind Workplace
Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. When individuals within a company are kind, people are happier, more productive, and more trusting. And the benefits of kindness are even greater when a workplace’s systems, policies, procedures, and every day actions are designed and implemented with kindness in mind.
At Reloveution, we encourage leaders to shift their mindsets from, “how do we create kinder people?” to:
“How can we reimagine our workplace and norms to be more kind towards the human beings who work here?” or
“How do our systems and way of doing business nurture and cultivate kindness?” or
“To whom are our policies and systems unkind and how can we adjust?”
These questions are at the heart of creating reloveutionary work cultures.
Here are some ways to move beyond individual-level kindness to building holistically kind workplaces:
Build small random acts of kindness into your company or team’s daily culture (give coffee or snacks, hold the door open, leave notes of gratitude, offer childcare after hours, help each other with unpleasant tasks without being asked, shout each other out, etc.). When doing these things is the norm rather than “special,” you are on your way to building a kinder culture overall.
Give regular and meaningful opportunities for people to experience human connection and to build/strengthen relationships
Come up with a neutral, non-hierarchical term to refer to all employees at your company (i.e., team-members, colleagues, Reloveutionaries (or some riff on your name), changemakers, etc.)
Encourage your teammates to share their work and life goals, and provide growth or development opportunities tailored to those specific goals
Build a community-facing or corporate responsibility platform/initiative your people can believe in and contribute to
Use mistakes and failures as opportunities for growth and improvement; Offer praise and support over punishment and ridicule
Include empathy, active listening, and equity training as a part of employee onboarding so that every person understands how kindness operates in your specific space
Create a culture where feedback (both positive and negative) is expected, encouraged, and offered honestly, consistently, and graciously
Put relationships first. When mistakes are made, people behave poorly, or goals are not met, it is not only the bottom line that suffers--relationships are also impacted. Create intentional spaces to share impacts and to foster restoration and healing whenever possible.
Address unkindness EVERY TIME. There is no room for it in the reloveutionary workplace you seek to create!
Importantly, being kind is not the antidote to racism or any other kind of systemic oppression, and our kindness (no matter how pure) does not absolve us from doing the hard work of disrupting harmful mindsets and practices. We all know people who are nice, who also harbor problematic beliefs or who behave in challenging, discriminatory, or biased ways.
Building reloveutionary work cultures requires us to look beyond niceness as the ultimate virtue, and recognize that if kindness is not offered to all people at the same frequencies, intensity, and/or level of authenticity, it is insufficient and even potentially harmful.
The kindness bottom line? Be friendly, generous, and considerate to others. Be friendly, generous, and considerate to yourself. And hold people (including yourself) accountable when they/you inevitably fall short.
Interested in support in building a kinder organization? Let's find some time to chat!!