In today’s world of business, kindness is not a luxury – it's obligatory. Here’s why instilling a considerate, compassionate and altruistic culture at work will help get the job done more effectively
In a world that often feels divided, small acts of kindness from individuals, businesses or services can have a huge impact on colleagues, customers and employees. The phrase ‘nice guys finish last’ is so often thrown around in business discussions, it can come as a surprise to people when you show them that showing kindness can actually have hugely positive repercussions for their companies. This is especially true for budding entrepreneurs, business owners and franchisees who have regularly been told they will fail unless they’re cut throat and unforgiving.
Speaking from experience though, thinking of kindness as an investment for the community in which you operate can reap far more rewarding and long-term success. In a top-down approach, exercising and showing kindness should be imperative to any business. There are always opportunities to perform good deeds and show gratitude for the hard work that goes into the daily operations of a franchise. Whether it comes from the CEO in head office, or a staff member to a customer, anyone who comes into contact with your operations should feel they have been treated with respect and kindness and want to continue their relationship with the company because of it.
As an international kids’ coding brand, kindness has been a key foundation to the success of our operations at Code Ninjas. Here are my thoughts on how to ensure kindness is effectively employed in your business, whether you have been operating for 10 years or 10 minutes.
Give recognition and praise
It should be a common practice to celebrate the wins and successes of the business, no matter how big or small. Everyone on the team, from new graduates all the way up to CEOs, should be shown recognition and praise for the contributions they make to the business in the form of everyday interactions. Regularly acknowledging hard work and commitment can boost morale significantly and give the team the added motivation to go the extra mile.
Make meaningful gestures
The benefits of being ethical and responsible aren’t just limited to increased customer satisfaction.
You have a responsibility to your team too, to ensure they feel equally appreciated. Providing your employees with the same level of kindness and attentiveness you expect for your clients or customers reminds them that they are valued and respected, which in turn can reflect positively on the delivery of your services. Make sure your staff know they are valued with social events and regular small gestures of thanks.
These will naturally bring the team closer together and will keep them from feeling like their roles are expendable.
Have an open door policy
Whether you’re a franchisor or a franchisee, as a business owner it’s highly likely you interact regularly with an eclectic mix of people, from customers to peers. In management, having an open-door policy, or being prepared to offer some respite from a busy working day to have fun for five minutes, can demonstrate to your team that you care about their wellbeing as much as the business itself.
Approaching each day with a smile on your face and a positive attitude towards everyone working in the company should always be your priority. Radiating kindness can positively boost the operations of your business.
Similar in effect to demonstrating appreciation for loyalty, regularly giving something meaningful back to the community is a great way of showing your business has a cooperative and caring ethos.
It doesn’t have to mean making big financial gestures (or even parting with money at all); finding creative ways to help people or other businesses in the community will boost your reputation and show that you care about those who have helped get you to where you are today. These can include donating your time and knowledge where needed, running promotions for local businesses in the area, or supporting causes that mean a lot to your family and others in the community.
Be kind to yourself!
This is quite possibly the most important piece of advice that you will hear in business and something that we all need reminding of once in a while. Make sure that you‘re kind to yourself and reward your own success – it’s equally as important as recognising and rewarding your team and community.
For your business operations to be successful and run smoothly, it’s important to combine kindness with self-care. This can come in the form of many things. Taking breaks, striking a healthy work-life balance, embarking on a hobby, or simply treating yourself are all easily accessible ways to look after yourself, pay back your effort and ensure your own wellbeing is robust enough to allow you to project kindness onto others.
Approaching the operations of your business with kindness should always be a priority, but it’s important to recognise that this doesn’t mean dropping the ball. Being an attentive, ‘open door’ business owner or manager is imperative to maintaining team morale and a good reputation, but it shouldn’t mean that you sacrifice your sharpness and entrepreneurial drive. There is a symbiotic relationship between kindness, positivity and drive in business, and maintaining certain standards for yourself will only take your successes further.
Justin Nihiser is the CEO of kids’ coding specialist Code Ninjas.