kindness in business

“I think there is an increasing connection between kindness and success in business. Kindness is one small thing that can make a big difference. It can inspire people you work with, and it does not require much effort or investment. Let’s dive, together, into this ocean called “kindness” and discover its not-so-hidden treasures.”

Grégoire Vigroux – Forbes Business Council

Kindness matters, not just in the leader-employee relationship. People generally are increasingly motivated by a more ethical and positive stance in business. Employees are more loyal and productive and, as consumers, we are more trusting of those businesses that demonstrate consideration and kindness towards their customers.

Perhaps surprisingly – because the world of finance, alien to most of us, is often seen as hard-nosed with no time for the nicer side of human nature – investors are interested. “Kindness and culture are strong indicators of whether a business is worth investing in”, says Ian Moore, Partner at CBPE Capital.

It has been found that kindness to staff, clients and other stakeholders, he says, “is a key factor in sustaining the performance of the business over the medium to long term”.

Many shades of kindness

Wherever it shows up, kindness is a natural human trait which, if helped to flourish, can self-propagate. In business, this might mean small acts of consideration, compassion in relation to staff, or generosity both within and outside the organisation. 

Kindness brings out more kindness, a virtuous circle. It is contagious. 

What the studies say

According to a white paper published by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, generosity has a positive impact on physical and mental health and brings significant workplace benefits.

A 2022 study published in Frontiers of Psychology aimed to demonstrate how “compassion and compassionate leadership at work can help us ensure a more meaningful, pleasurable, and productive experience for employees, creating safe and positive work environments”. 

At the University of Bath, in the UK, Dr Yasin Rofcanin, exploring the links between employee wellbeing and organisational productivity, confirms that considerate managers improve employee performance.

Out with the old…

Kindness is often depicted as “warm and fluffy,” and therefore perceived as incongruent with the driven nature of the business world. In many corporate settings, where competitiveness and bottom-line results are the priority, kindness may seem like a soft skill, lacking the tangible impact that traditional metrics such as revenue and profit margins provide. 

As studies like the ones above demonstrate though, is that this perception ignores the significant value that kindness brings to the workplace and the broader business landscape.

…in with the new

Contrary to popular belief, kindness is not synonymous with weakness; rather, it is a strength that can drive success in various aspects of business. From fostering a positive work culture to enhancing customer satisfaction and driving innovation, kindness has the power to transform organisations and drive sustainable growth.

One of the key ways in which kindness manifests its value in the business world is through its impact on workplace culture. 

In environments where kindness is prioritised and demonstrated, employees feel valued, respected, and supported. This sense of belonging fosters higher levels of employee engagement, motivation, and productivity. 

Moreover, kindness creates a supportive atmosphere where individuals feel comfortable expressing their ideas, taking risks, and collaborating with their colleagues. 

As a result, leaders who prioritise kindness in business can expect rewards of lower turnover rates, higher levels of employee satisfaction, and ultimately, greater success in achieving their business objectives.

Stronger relationships

In any setting, kindness plays a crucial role in building trust and loyalty. In business, this translates as stronger relationships with customers and clients. 

In today’s competitive marketplace, where consumers have endless options at their fingertips, businesses must differentiate themselves not only through their products or services but also through the quality of their interactions with customers. 

Kindness in business is a powerful tool for building confidence, loyalty, and long-term relationships with customers. Whether it’s going the extra mile to resolve a customer’s issue, showing empathy and understanding in challenging situations, or simply expressing gratitude for their support, acts of kindness leave a lasting impression that can set a business apart from its competitors.

Creativity and innovation

As well as the impact on internal culture and customer relationships, kindness drives innovation and creativity within the business. In an increasingly complex and rapidly changing business landscape, innovation is essential for staying ahead of the competition, maintaining market position, and driving sustainable growth. 

Fostering a culture of kindness encourages open communication, collaboration, and experimentation. This in turn cultivates fertile ground for innovation to thrive, thus unlocking the potential of employees. 

When workers feel supported and valued, they are more likely to take risks, think outside the box, and contribute their unique perspectives and ideas to the organisation. 

This diversity of thought and creativity is the driving force behind breakthrough innovations that propel businesses forward and drive competitive advantage.

Social responsibility

Kindness is not only beneficial for individual businesses, it also benefits the broader business ecosystem. In a world where corporate social responsibility and ethical business practices are increasingly valued by consumers and stakeholders, businesses that demonstrate kindness towards their employees, customers, and communities stand out as leaders in their respective industries. 

By specifically engaging kindness in their operations and decision-making processes, businesses can make a positive impact on society, contribute to the greater good, and ultimately, build a more sustainable and inclusive future for all. The world is changing. We no longer accept the outdated business models that prioritised the bottom line, regardless of the human cost or the impact on the ecosystem. More and more businesses are now recognising that kindness, and its associated aspects like compassion, consideration, and generosity, have undeniable value. 

From fostering a positive work culture and strengthening relationships with customers to driving innovation and contributing to the greater good, kindness has the power to transform organisations and drive sustainable success. 

Rather than viewing kindness as a soft skill or an afterthought, businesses which recognise it as a strategic asset are giving themselves an edge that can help them thrive in today’s competitive business landscape. 

Prioritising kindness in operations and interactions, businesses can unlock the full potential of their employees, build strong relationships with customers, and create a more sustainable and inclusive future for all stakeholders.

Podcast: Time for Kindness, Bringing People Together

Image courtesy of Freepik

I’m a psychologist, coach, and therapist. All my work is aimed at enabling people to improve personal aspects of their lives and work.