Kindness in the Workplace

10th February 2022

UKZN Extended Learning

– by Nkosingiphile Ntshangase

In recognition of Valentine’s Day and the month of love, we felt the need to emphasise the benefits of fostering compassion in the workplace. Having a sense of community is innately human. A significant amount of time is spent at the workplace, so it makes sense that having a good relationship with colleagues will make work more enjoyable. A comfortable working environment that cultivates compassion and camaraderie can foster confidence and creativity in employees. Innovation and creativity also require a high level of teamwork. A positive working environment and relationship with colleagues allows employees to focus on opportunities, such as securing contracts, bringing in new business, and developing personal and professional growth. We tend to be at our best when growing, so the more we learn, the more we can reach our full potential. There is no question that individuals want to lead positively and cultivate positive engagement in the workplace. The ability to network professionally can aid career advancement by opening doors and allowing for new opportunities.

Some interactions need a more conscientious approach, such as establishing and maintaining relationships with stakeholders. Building these close working relationships with people can take time, and these can be connections one can carry throughout their career, yielding future benefits. 

The human need for belonging and connection is fundamental. Developing and maintaining personal relationships is a natural part of our nature. The absence of interpersonal relationships can negatively impact the well-being of employees. An engaged and productive workforce is enhanced by having close relationships with leadership, co-workers, and customers. By doing so, acknowledgement and appreciation for others are more wholehearted, encouraging employees to work for the organisation’s benefit rather than for selfish gains. According to Weeve, compassion and empathy work by building trust, mutual connections, and reciprocation. Similarly, a study performed by the Harvard Business Review stated that empathetic companies outperform their competitors by 20 percent.

Today, many of the most successful organisations have focused on creating a compassionate environment as a long-term investment more than anything else. These acts can positively impact the performance culture of the workplace. Employees can feel more involved when communication is with empathy and kindness.