Whilst many business owners and managers think that putting pressure on employees to perform is the best way to increase productivity and profitability, in reality, the opposite is often the case.
In this post, we look at how developing a culture of compassion across your organisation can deliver real benefits in terms of both employee wellbeing and business performance.
What is compassion?
Compassion can be defined as “the emotion that we feel in response to the suffering or struggles of others that motivates a desire to help.”
In business, this means encouraging your managers and employees to be more understanding, respectful and helpful when dealing with other people in your organisation.
It also means encouraging your employees to work together, treat each other as equals and individuals, support each other in times of difficulty, and not to be judgemental.
The benefits of a compassionate workforce
Developing and promoting a happy, compassionate and positive workforce can deliver a number of measurable benefits for your business, including:
- Reducing the risk of mental health problems
- Building closer bonds between team members
- Improving the mood and atmosphere within an organisation
- Increased commitment to work
- Reduced rates of absenteeism
- Increased employee wellbeing and productivity
- Improved customer service delivery
- Decreased employee disputes
- Reduced staff turnover
Put simply, cultivating a compassionate workforce will make your business a better place to be, and you’ll get more out of your employees as a result of these changes.
Creating a culture of compassion
The attitudes and actions of employees will always be influenced by the culture of an organisation – and this needs to start at the top. Business owners and managers are the most influential people in any organisation, and they need to lead by example.
Compassion is contagious, and employees will follow the actions of their superiors within an organisation. Extensive research has shown that even witnessing a single compassionate act can increase employee wellbeing, whilst also significantly increasing the likelihood that that those witnessing the act will follow suit.
Cultivating compassion can mean a big shift in attitudes for some business owners and managers. Often, those at the top of an organisation shy away from compassion out of fear of appearing weak, but this simply isn’t the case.
In fact, the most compassionate leaders are often the strongest – cultivating employee loyalty and an increased willingness to work harder and go the extra mile.
Compassion in action
So what does a compassionate workforce look like in practice?
Compassion should permeate the thinking and actions of your employees throughout their working lives, but there are a few examples of how a compassionate organisation might act:
Dealing with poor performance
Rather than disciplining or blaming an employee for poor performance, a compassionate manager might speak to them about it instead.
In a private, non confrontational setting, the manager would then look to find out whether there are any reasons in the affected employee’s work or personal life that might be affecting them, and work out how they can help.
Being more flexible
If an employee was suffering from mental ill health, and struggling to fit their life around the working hours of your business, then a compassionate business might offer the employee flexible work hours. (In fact, this is now a legal requirement!)
This kind of flexibility helps to show employees that you value them and understand the difficulties that they might be going through, cultivating goodwill and loyalty amongst staff members.
How we can help
At Mindworks, our friendly team of experts can help you to improve the culture of your organisation with tailored consultancy and bespoke mental health training courses for business owners, managers and employees.
For further information on how Mindworks can help to improve the performance of your business, get in touch today on 01482 240134, or email [email protected].