Being Kind Works.

Can Kindness Be the Key to a Happier and More Productive Workplace?

About KindWorks
Kindness possesses the potential to address some of the most significant challenges in both the workplace and the broader world.

In the wake of the challenges of a post-Covid world, organizations are increasingly grappling with issues of disengagement, burnout, and lack of motivation. These symptoms underscore a pressing concern for Human Resources teams. Recent research highlights a growing discontent within the workforce: in 2023, a staggering 77% of employees report feeling disengaged, and employee loyalty has plummeted, with over half expressing intent to leave their current jobs. This situation is costly for businesses; the average cost to replace an experienced employee exceeds $50,000, and Gallup estimates a staggering $8.8 trillion global productivity loss due to unengaged workers.

The acceleration of hybrid or remote work has presented a complex challenge when it comes to establishing organizational culture, boosting employee morale, increasing productivity, and retaining talent, especially among teams that may have never met in person or worked across multiple time zones.

To address the imperative of keeping employees engaged and connected, companies have been compelled to explore innovative ways to foster a sense of belonging and team cohesion. In this quest, one powerful concept has emerged as a transformative force within organizations: Kindness. While it might not be the first term that springs to mind in a corporate context, Kindness is undeniably intertwined with business success.

In the workplace, Kindness means a culture and behavior that prioritizes empathy, compassion, respect, and consideration among colleagues and leadership. It involves treating coworkers with fairness, dignity, and humanity. The impact of Kindness is well-documented, touching areas such as employee well-being, team collaboration, reduced turnover, employee engagement, and creating a thriving workplace environment.

In essence, Kindness possesses the potential to address some of the most significant challenges in both the workplace and the broader world. Research reveals that regular acts of Kindness boost happiness, enhance job and life satisfaction, reduce depression and burnout, and improve the overall mental health of both the giver and the receiver.

You may also be interested on reading: The Role of Self-Kindness in Achieving a Balanced Life

So, why don’t we talk about the importance of Kindness more often, as adults and in the workplace?  While Kindness is a strength, we tend to think of Kindness as a ‘soft’ skill and not a power skill. We often confuse being ‘Kind’ with being ‘nice.’ In reality, the practice of Kindness is often not an easy decision. Kindness encompasses authentic generosity and compassion, including the ability to demonstrate these qualities to oneself. This may involve engaging in tough conversations, setting personal boundaries, embracing vulnerability, and showing respect without judgment. These actions, though seemingly small, carry profound meaning, impact, and require significant strength.

Kindness need not be timely or costly. While grand gestures may come to mind, it’s the small daily actions that have the most significant ripple effects. These can be as simple as smiling at a new colleague during a meeting, offering an unsolicited compliment, taking a short walk for a break, or leaving a Thank-you note for someone who has extended help. Research shows that these seemingly small actions have a substantial impact on the person performing the act, the recipient, and the culture of and results at the workplace.

Cultivating Kindness: A Practice that Grows Stronger

Think of Kindness as a muscle—one that strengthens with practice and habits. The more we consciously choose Kindness, the more it becomes our instinctive response. Much like a regular workout regimen, practicing Kindness, even through small acts, gradually shifts it to the forefront of our daily decisions and actions. The culmination of each Kindness has a profound effect on our culture and society.

A Powerful Catalyst for Effective Leadership

In today’s organizational landscape, effective leadership is more crucial than ever, and Kindness stands out as a potent tool in shaping better leaders. Unfortunately, in many cases, it remains noticeably absent. According to the 2023 State of Workplace Empathy Report, more than 30% of employees do not perceive their leadership as empathetic. This perception is most pronounced among the Gen Z cohort, with nearly two-thirds (61%, as per the same study) not viewing their CEOs as empathetic.

When Kindness is a key element of leadership, we see improvements in motivation, communication, the propensity for action, and adaptability. A study from 2017 underscored the significance of empathy: 60% of employees were willing to accept slightly lower compensation if their employer demonstrated empathy, and a staggering 78% indicated their willingness to switch to an employer offering equal pay but characterized by empathy.

Leadership challenges are pervasive across all industries and geographic regions. Issues like employee engagement, maintaining morale amid uncertainty or layoffs, overcoming connectivity hurdles in the hybrid and remote work era, and the authentic integration of diversity, equity, and inclusion into the corporate culture are just a few of the pressing challenges. Leaders often grapple with the task of sustaining high performance and productivity amidst these complexities.

The remedy lies in introducing Kindness into the workplace. Building empathy, nurturing active listening, fostering human connections, and deploying all the tools of authentic Kindness in leadership heralds the future of work. By doing so, organizations can both address the leadership gaps of our times and cultivate an environment where empathy and effective leadership thrive, ultimately benefiting both employees and the company’s productivity.

Results for a More Productive Workplace Supported by Data

Kindness has proven and measured benefits in the workplace. Data from Kindworks.AI indicates that individuals who practice intentional Kindness regularly self-reported a 177% increase in feelings of appreciation and a 255% increase in feelings of connectedness over a 12-week period. Moreover, the Kindness exercises have proven effective in boosting employees’ sense of making an impact, with a notable 63% increase observed over three months. 

This evidence underscores the transformative power of Kindness in the corporate setting, demonstrating that cultivating a culture of Kindness can lead to profound improvements in employee well-being, engagement, overall workplace dynamics, and the company’s bottom line. The intentional practice of Kindness is a must-have in any successful work culture.

The culture of Kindness can be cultivated with technology as well.  KindWorks.AI is a platform with a Kindness buddy, ‘Beni’, who shares personal Kindness exercises to strengthen a person’s Kindness muscle, grow their impact and knowledge, and help each person choose Kindness in every moment. ‘Beni’ uses artificial intelligence to bring the right exercise to the right person at the right time to have the greatest positive impact on themselves and their workplaces and communities.  

In today’s digital age, technology holds immense potential to amplify the impact of Kindness. While there are instances where technology has been employed in ways that might not align with our shared humanity, it also possesses the remarkable ability to connect us and facilitate growth in unprecedented ways. When one person extends a Kind act to another, the ripple effects are exponential. Leveraging technology to supercharge this positive impact can lead to limitless benefits for Kinder communities and a Kinder world.

This article was originally published at HR World. Magazine.

Nicole Yelse, Co-Founder & COO of KindWorks.AI


Nicole Yelsey, Co-Founder & COO of KindWorks.AI

Not Ready for a Demo?

Let’s stay in touch. We’ll share updates along our shared journey to enable and encourage Kindness for everyone.