THE FUTURE OF BUSINESS BELONGS TO THE KIND
If you put one hundred people in a room and asked them if they prefer kindness or indifference, we'd put all our chips on kindness.
Change that to one-hundred customers or one-hundred employees, and the answer would likely be the same.
Until recently, profit, growth, and beating the competition were just how you did business. Many companies have sacrificed kindness at the altar of shareholder earnings. It may seem like a soft skill, but being kind to customers and employees can significantly impact a brand's success and growth.
Jessica Lawrence, former Executive Director of Civic Hall in NYC, said, "Kindness is the new disruption." Just like Netflix caused the slow extinction of video rental stores and Wikipedia made heavy encyclopedia sets obsolete, kindness is triumphing over the old-fangled model of "but this is how we've always done it." Without kindness, it's rare for businesses or humans to prosper in any meaningful or enduring way.
This doesn't mean your bottom line isn't important. Good business means turning a profit and scaling for growth. You can't throw a bunch of warm fuzzies around like confetti and expect everything to magically fall into place.
At its core, kindness is the desire to positively impact the world. Kindness shines the spotlight on others. Kindness slides out of the chair and says, "Hey, you can sit with us."
Think of kindness as the lubrication that keeps the wheels of commerce running smoothly by evolving deeper connections and reinforcing respect.
Without it, you'll rust.
WHY KINDNESS MATTERS
Kindness builds trust
Bob Kerry, the former governor of Nebraska, once said, "Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change." Kindness empowers people to let down their guard and emotionally connect with others. This fosters innovation and productivity from your employees and repeat business from your customers, which can have massive benefits for your bottom line.
When you offer sincere support and look for ways to help others succeed, it shows that you value and honor people's well-being. Here are a few ideas to build trust:
- Share positive feedback liberally
- Start emails with compliments
- Recognize others' strengths during meetings
- Hold space for people to process their challenges and respond with compassion
Kindness fosters positivity
According to the American Psychological Association, people who experience kindness from others pay it forward by 278%. Instead of a place where happy thoughts and laughter go to die, imagine a work environment where everyone is constantly paying it forward. Creativity and productivity would skyrocket!
One thing we do here at Buzztag is Flex Friday. On the last day of the work week, we make space for whatever our hearts and souls need—spending time outside, working on personal projects, volunteering, etc.—so we can keep on managing our client projects with fresh energy and creativity. We give our employees permission to not obsessively check their inboxes on Fridays. It's our way of fostering, balancing, and creating a life that flows with us instead of whooshing past us.
Here are a few other ideas to help you cultivate more positivity:
- Make your workplace comfortable, both physically and mentally; buy good chairs.
- Encourage communication and collaboration over competition
- There's a smorgasbord of BS to get caught up in these days. Steer clear of it and focus on lifting others up.
- Assume good intentions before anything else.
Kindness increases loyalty
Your brand is the promise you make to people. When you make kindness a part of your brand vision, people notice. Customers prefer to buy from brands whose values they share, and employees stay when they feel valued.
Kindness is rooted in giving, even if it's just the gift of delight. And if there's one thing we know for sure, a little delight can go a long way. Consider the following:
- Thank you cards are a classic kindness tool. Use them liberally.
- Give employees and customers shoutouts on social media.
- Surprise a random customer with a thoughtful gift (we have ideas!)
- Express gratitude and celebrate milestones with an employee rewards program. Brand merch is the perfect opportunity to make employees feel valued, connect with their purpose, and produce great work. There is no such thing as too much recognition. Buzztag can help you create a kickass employee gift program that inspires a connected and committed workforce. Click here for more info about giving good swag.
Kindness differentiates you from the competition
If you want to stand out, you've gotta be different. In a cutthroat world where the pursuit of personal gain outweighs everything, be known for kindness. Let other brands fight over the scraps. Give customers a little more than they asked for. Personalize every interaction. A culture of kindness can spread beyond the walls of a business and out into the world, where people are definitely paying attention.
One of the boldest ways to do this is to link your brand to a greater cause that people can easily relate to. Give back to your community with time, resources, or money. This can be done by donating a portion of business profits to a charity that matters to you. It could be volunteering in your local community. Or giving employees time off to volunteer. Your actions can inspire others to give as well.
START WITH ONE SMALL ACT
Remember that everyone is going through their own struggles and challenges. A kind gesture can go a long way in making someone's day a little better. Acts of kindness don't need to be sweeping or groundbreaking to make a difference. When a single pebble is dropped into water, the ripples spread from person to person to person.
Just like kindness.
So maybe carry around a pocket full of pebbles and see what happens.
Kind people are our kind of people. If you're managing a merch program and need ideas that delight and endear, let's talk. Click here to set up a "we never thought of that" chat.