It may be hard to believe but compassion is difficult to build into the business world. It is not the first thing people think of when building corporate culture as some managers fear showing too much kindness is perceived as weakness. Others feel it may not be very productive. In spite of concerns, evidence suggests otherwise that, in fact, the art of compassion can help build a more meaningful, peaceful work environment.
One of the awesome benefits of employee compassion in the workplace is retention. You may not want to work for a boss who yells or gets upset all the time but one who shows compassion and sympathy may be just as hard to work for. Creating a compassionate workplace is the best way to retain employees for the long haul and boost the bottom dollar but it can be hard to get people on board (at least at first).
Compassionate workplaces support employee efforts to manage stress. One simple way to reduce stress is allow employees to socialize more in the office. Rather than hover about the water cooler, it helps to let people engage in healthy conversation that keeps workflow going. When allowed to linger for a few moments, employees are likely to strike up conversations about what goes on in life outside the office. Discussions begin and people build bridges.
Positive social interactions also lead to physical health benefits. A few minutes spent mingling with co-workers everyday can help lower blood pressure and decrease heart rate. This may also boost productivity and have a domino effect which helps the entire family. When employees feel better, they are more likely to demonstrate this positive impact on families including cooking healthier meals.
Compassion is contagious. While many business leaders fear showing compassion as it may encourage employees to take advantage of grace and gratitude, research shows when leaders are compassionate and cooperative, employees reciprocate. Cooperative behavior is linked to higher productivity and peace in the workplace than competitiveness. A culture of compassion can be introduced with a few small steps–meetings, conversations with colleagues, taking time to spend with people in the office having a quick break. Showing people you care, while creating policies to foster compassion, is a simple and effective way to improve business.
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