In recent years, we’ve all been talking about company culture, workplace happiness and the importance of a comfortable work environment. We’ve come to understand that, in order to get most from our teams, we need to provide them with support and a culture they can really appreciate.
But did you know that the ‘compassionate love’ between your employees could actually make them more productive?
What is Compassionate Love?
It’s important to point out that compassionate love is not the same as romantic love and might be better thought of as ‘friendly love’.
Compassionate, or friendly love, is based on the connections and affections we feel for the people close to us. Compassionate employees care about their co-workers and will be caring, concerned and empathetic in the workplace.
Compassionate love make us more productive
One recent study looked at the effects emotional culture had on employee and client well-being and performance. Researchers surveyed employees, patients and patients’ family members at a large healthcare organization in the US.
The study found that employees who felt that their working culture was loving and caring reported higher levels of satisfaction and teamwork and called in sick less.
Thinking that these findings might only be reflective of workers in the healthcare industry, which you’d naturally think to be more compassionate, the researchers conducted a follow up study with people who worked in numerous different industries such as real estate and finance.
The follow up study gave similar results. Employees who felt that they could express affection and compassion for their coworkers were more satisfied with the jobs and committed to their company than those who didn’t.
The results of these studies aren’t surprising but the notions of ‘compassion’ and ‘love’ are rarely mentioned in the workplace.
How to create a compassionate culture
There’s no doubt that being kind, caring and compassionate towards your team will make them feel happier and more valued at work, which in turn, should increase engagement and productivity. How exactly you go about creating a compassionate culture, however, is a little more complex.
Here are some easy ways you can encourage compassion in your workplace…
Lead by example
There’s no point trying to create a culture of kindness and compassion if you’re not going to lead by example. If you’re not compassionate towards your team, they are unlikely to care about your company or each other.
Michelle M. Smith of O.C. Tanner suggests that your compassionate attitude can be ‘contagious’ to your employees…
“Research on emotional contagion shows that people are particularly likely to catch the emotions of their leaders, so being a role model is a highly effective way to influence team behavior in a kinder, gentler direction.“
Sigal Barsade and Olivia (Mandy) O’Neill, the researchers behind the study mentioned above, suggest also recommend leading by example…
“pay attention to the emotions you’re expressing to employees every day. Your mood creates a cultural blueprint for the group.”
Assume people are doing their best
“Reinforce this behavior (for yourself and your team) by describing the behavior and motives of others in the most positive way possible. For example, replace, “The IT folks are ignoring our needs!” with, “The IT folks are obviously busy, so we need to help them by making sure our initiative delivers value.” Complaining about others reduces your power and turns you into a victim. Positive framing focuses on what can be done rather than who is to blame.”
Instead of pointing the finger every time something doesn’t go exactly according to plan, assume everyone involved did their best and focus on finding a solution. Hopefully, your employees will learn valuable lessons without being put off being innovative and trying new things again in the future.
If you want your employees to express and demonstrate your values to your customers, clients, co-workers etc, why not reward them for doing so?
‘The Corporate Hippy’, business consultant Joolz Lewis, recommends rewarding random acts of kindness. She notes one client who rewarded an employee for sending a ‘get well soon’ card to a customer after hearing that they were ill.
By rewarding employees for showing compassion, you’re demonstrating how important it is to your company and encouraging them to continue doing it.
There are plenty of ways to show your employees that you care about them and encourage them to care about each other. In return, you should see team members feeling more connected to your company and more dedicated to helping the business succeed and keeping customers happy.
How do you encourage compassion at work? Share your experiences in the comments below.