I found a quote the other day by author and comic strip creator, Scott Adams, that stuck with me:
Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.
We recently blogged about the ripple effect of employee recognition, and how one small moment — sending an eCard, commenting on a job well done or tagging a colleague in a comment, for example — can have a lasting effect on an organisation.
With the 17th of February dubbed “National Random Acts of Kindness Day,” in the states, this got me thinking about how others spread acts of kindness and can inspire us to do even more in our day-to-day. So, how can we as employers empower our people to do more acts of kindness in the workplace? Here are my four goals that will hopefully inspire your own ideas:
1. Write letters to those in need
I came across an inspirational video about a woman, named Hannah Brencher, who started a company called “More Love Letters,” and since 2011 has sent over 250,000 love letters to people in need.
This act of writing letters is so powerful and can mean a lot to those who are seeking kindness from others in a time of need.
You can start a new initiative at your organisation and get involved by mailing letters to specific people across the world. Extend your own version of Random Acts of Kindness Day throughout the year and host a monthly meeting with everyone and bring lots of pens, paper and snacks to get everyone in the writing mood.
More Love Letters even has a dedicated section on their website where you can learn more about the person and mail the letter directly to their address. Check out Hannah’s story below:
2. Live by shared company values
We have a set of company values that I hold close to my heart — and my brain. But by putting our Be Human value at the heart of everything I do, I think I can make a difference to how I work, and how I work with my colleagues.
For example, if I see a peer struggling with their day-to-day, I might bring them a coffee, or on the opposite side of things, give them space so they can be heads down.
We’re all busy at work, and if we take the extra minute to look around and understand what others are going through, then we really can make the world a better place to work.
Think of your own company values. How can you make sure your employees feel connected to them throughout the year?
3. Make recognition meaningful
Showing appreciation for those in your company who go above and beyond is a surefire way to extend an act of kindness.
Saying “thank you” is always a good option, but there are plenty of other low-cost employee recognition ideas to extend your gratitude and spread the love, including: Taking on someone’s least favourite task for the day, making someone a cup of coffee for the week, or giving a high performer a monopoly “go home early” card.
Another way to spread kindness throughout your organisation is with peer-to-peer and manager-led eCards. There are two sets of eCards that Reward Gateway uses through our peer-to-peer employee recognition programme, and one is devoted to our values while the other is a little more generic.
By embracing strategic recognition and connecting a moment of recognition to a value — for instance, instead of sending the “Stay awesome” eCard to someone who has developed a new product feature, I can send the “Push the Boundaries” one — making my own little moments of kindness even more powerful, and start that ripple effect.
4. Take time to connect with others
No two days are the same here at Reward Gateway (and likely your office as well), but I like it that way. It gives me the freedom to connect with people in the office (or globally, in the company) who I may not get to work with on a daily basis.
Our employee communications platform gives me much-needed insight into projects that various teams are working on. And while I’m forever grateful for this visibility, one of my goals is to practice empathy and connect with individuals in the business one-on-one.
I'd like to dig a little deeper into these stories and connect with folks to truly understand their day-to-day worlds, offer my help where I can and make sure I understand how this impacts the business.
Practising empathy is one of the biggest gifts we give others and ourselves.
As an added bonus, use your employee communications platform to spread news about upcoming holidays and how your teams can get involved. For example, our Culture Team started the "Pay it Forward" initiative in honor of the holiday, encouraging our employees to get involved and display acts of kindness. We even created a dedicated hashtag to use on social media! Stay tuned to see how our employees celebrated across the globe.
Remember, celebrating National Random Acts of Kindness Day doesn’t have to be random – choose specific acts that mean something to you and those around you. And it doesn’t have to be big either, keep it simple and remember there’s no act of kindness that’s too small.
How are you making an effort to be more kind at work? Leave your ideas in the comments below!