Kindness In The Workplace Doesn't Have To Be Hard
Kindness in the workplace isn’t as common as it should be. Whether it’s employee to employee or employee to customer, kindness takes effort. But it’s worth the effort.
This reminds me of a trip my family and I took to the snow on Saturday. When you live in the Pacific Northwest, you treasure every sunny day you can get! So when my family and I saw the sun was out and there was snow in the mountains, we headed up for our last trip to the snow until fall.
One of my favorite things about being in the mountains is how kind and friendly people can be. We saw about 15 people out there and every one of them gave us a smile and a hello.
A Smile And Hello
The smiles and hello this Saturday were very encouraging. It was like everyone knew this is the attitude you are supposed to have when you are in the mountains.
I wonder if that is how people feel about your workplace. What is the attitude of the people in your business?
When customers come to your place of business, interact with employees on the phone, or exchange emails, does the communication project a smile and hello?
The Coffee Shop Gets It Right
All of us have been to coffee shops. There’s a local place in the Bellingham area called Woods and in my experience, I am consistently greeted with a smile and hello. The staff knows that is the attitude you are supposed to have.
It’s funny, sometimes I have to prepare myself for the conversation. When I come in for my Thursday 6:30 am meeting, I know as I walk up to the counter Taryn will smile and ask me how my morning is going.
The interesting thing about this is I am preparing to have a good experience with the business. I am anticipating a good conversation with the barista.
Imagine if kindness was the expectation that customers had of your business!
Kindness In The Workplace Should Be Expected
Customers can and should expect kindness from your business. There isn’t a business out there that wouldn’t benefit from its staff being more friendly and kind to their customers.
Imagine the benefit this attitude would have on your staff and your customers.
What is the kindness culture at your workplace? Does it reflect a sunny disposition or a gloomy one?
Here’s a different way to ask the question. If a staff member showed up looking like the lady in the main image of this article, would that fit your culture?
Three Ways To Improve Your Culture Of Kindness
When I worked at a pet resort in California, we had three rules with every customer. Run to them (or walk very quickly), smile, and greet them by name. It was amazing the impact this had on our customers. Knowing we knew their name (and their dog’s) name was a huge boost to our credibility and their experience at the resort.
But what does this look like in an office context? Here are three ways to smile, greet, and run to your customers.
- Run: The equivalent to running in an office context is dropping what you are doing and giving your full attention to the customer. For example, don’t email while you’re on the phone (raises a hand – guilty). Don’t put files away or organize things while you are interacting with a customer or another employee.
- Smile: This one is easy. Well, maybe it’s not easy. Did you know people can hear a smile in your voice when you are on the phone? Smiling makes an obvious difference in person-to-person interaction. Smiling makes a difference on the phone too. I’ve even smiled as I’ve written emails and it changed the way I wrote the message!
- Greet by name: There are many ways to greet a customer, but the best is with a smile, your full attention, and their name. Dale Carnegie puts it this way, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
A Culture Of Kindness Starts At The Top
None of this is worth a hill of beans if it isn’t authentic and it doesn’t start from the top. When leaders demonstrate kindness and compassion in the workplace it’s contagious. It won’t stick otherwise.
But it’s not all fluffy and nice. Being kind has bottom-line benefits. Here are 6 from the US Chamber of Commerce. Kindness in the workplace…
- Fosters trust within an organization.
- Assists in talent recruitment.
- Heightens employee engagement and commitment.
- Fuels learning and innovation.
- Promotes high-quality service and brand loyalty.
- Improves business performance.
What’s the one thing your business can do today to start promoting kindness?