Catching Kindness

As the Community Relations Manager at Faith Technologies, I’m given the opportunity to help our company make a difference in our communities throughout the country. Our corporate social responsibility (CSR) program includes everything from sponsoring community events to helping employees connect to the communities that they live and work in. Businesses and individuals everywhere are investing in worthy causes and events that improve quality of life and serve those in need.

Companies are often recognized for their top-tier sponsorships or high-level donations. Awards and attention are showered upon the businesses that get involved, provide volunteers or support community initiatives. Yet sometimes the smallest acts of kindness in our everyday lives are the ones that create the biggest impacts.

My role at Faith Technologies allows me to observe moments that may go unnoticed by others but are just as meaningful as the financial investments made each year. Some that come to mind are:

  • The time that an employee’s wife was battling cancer, and coworkers rallied together to raise dollars for the American Cancer Society in her honor.
  • When employees cheerfully show up on a weekend or week night to help out with an educational program for youth.
  • The way our community captains at each branch location make time to focus on community involvement during their busy schedules.
  • When our field employees embraced a “Pink Shirt” campaign and proudly donned pink shirts for breast cancer awareness.
  • How our team encourages each other during friendly wellness competitions and charity donation drives.
  • The inspiring stories shared by employees as part of our internal Values Recognition Program.
  • The way our team members often end their e-mails with “You Bet!” or smiley emojis just to spread some cheer.

Why are these seemingly small things so impactful? Science proves that kindness is transformative! Three research studies from Oxford University showed that after demonstrating acts of kindness to family, friends, strangers and themselves, there was a positive impact on a person’s happiness, life satisfaction, compassion, trust, positivity and social connection. Studies also show that kindness improves creativity and innovation, motivates employees, increases sales and improves a leader’s likability score, resulting in less turnover.

Whether you are the giver of kind words or the receiver, this type of impact is a win-win, since everybody benefits. Words can be a powerful force of positive change, and research by the Association of Professional Executives has found that workplaces with a positive environment are 30% more enthusiastic about new ideas, and 44% are more committed to their organizations. Ultimately, an effort to increase meaningful acts of kindness will lead to a positive shift in attitude and increased level of engagement among employees.

Still not convinced? Think about the last time someone said or did something kind for you. How did you feel when someone:

  • showed appreciation for your work?
  • took time to listen?
  • was patient and understanding when working through a problem?
  • greeted you with a smile and kind words?
  • provided positive feedback?

It may have boosted your confidence, inspired a positive reaction or even shifted your whole attitude! If random acts of kindness are so transformative, why don’t we do more of it?

Random Acts of Kindness Week is celebrated in February each year and is a great time to inspire each other to take the time to connect and share words of kindness. At Faith Technologies, new this year we launched the Catching Kindness project, inviting employees to share compliments on an internal digital bulletin board. There is no incentive or reward for sharing these positive affirmations, just the personal happiness and mental wellness that comes from extending kindness. The idea is that by encouraging these small gestures, we will begin making them habits in our everyday lives – and not just at work!

This is something that anyone can try. Think about the ways you approach those you interact with, and carefully consider your words and demeanor. Speak gratitude, share compliments, express sincere appreciation and see what happens. It seems so simple, but the ripple effect of kindness can add up to a whole lot of good.