I stumbled across a great article the other day by HR Grapevine.
It’s all about the power of goodwill gestures in the workplace; the little things like offering to make a co-worker a cup of tea or coffee.
So, because it’s the season of goodwill and all that, I thought I’d delve a little deeper into the topic and have a little think about how we, as managers, can encourage goodwill throughout our teams.
The survey says…
CV Library conducted some research and found that (according to employees) the following gestures make them them happiest at work…
- A colleague giving them support (58.6%)
- A colleague making them cups of tea or coffee (43.3%)
- Being complimented on their work (32.7%)
- Being offered constructive feedback (28.2%)
- Being greeted with a smile everyday (26.6%)
- A colleague helping out when work becomes overwhelming (24.1%)
- Being taught new things (19.8%)
- A colleague bringing in snacks for the team (13.8%)
- A colleague covering their shifts for them (3.5%)
- Being sent funny emails (3.3%)
Now, most of these gestures take little effort and are pretty cheap, so they’re really worthwhile if they can make your staff members happier, more engaged and therefore more productive!
What can you do?
Of course, you can’t exactly enforce tea-rounds and/or make people be kind and generous to each other. To a certain extent, it’s up to them.
But you can (and should) encourage goodwill within your team; if not for sake of your employees’ happiness, then for the sake of your business.
After all, happier employees are more loyal, more hard-working and more productive!
Where do you start? Let’s take a look…
1. Lead by example.
When was the last time YOU offered to make someone a cup of tea? Or bought snacks for the team? Or sent out a silly (funny) email?
It’s pretty simple really; your employees will look up to you and behave accordingly.
If you’re grumpy, dismissive and have no time for anyone, that negative energy will filter down through the rest of the team.
But if you’re friendly, caring and generous, your employees are much more likely to be.
2. Formalise it.
If goodwill doesn’t come naturally, put something more structured in place to encourage it.
Three ideas initially spring to mind…
- All year round Secret “Santa.” Who said gifting should only be at Christmas? Setting up a scheme where staff members can secretly send gifts to each other through the company (within a budget) is a great way to encourage goodwill. Perhaps they replace a co-worker’s mug when it gets broken or send them a “cheer up” box of chocolates after a tough week. These little tiny (secret) gestures will really put a smile on someone’s face.
- Create an award. If you’re into the whole monthly/quarterly award ceremony type bashes, you could create a category for the most “supportive staff member,” voted for by your employees. This will encourage people to start thinking differently and reward those staff members who spread some cheer!
- Hire someone to do it for you. Loads of companies now hire “engagement officers” or “happiness managers” etc. to do the hard work for them. If there is someone there constantly and passionately getting everyone involved in goodwill (and other) incentives, it can be a great boost of morale and employee engagement in your office.
I know it might seem a bit strange, talking about “structuring goodwill” but it’s a great way to incentivise and encourage your team, especially if they’re currently not so into it.
3. Build it into your culture and brand.
Set expectations from the get-go by incorporating goodwill and generosity into your cultural strategy, mission statement and branding.
By formalising this attribute, people will know what’s expected of them, warm to your brand (because who doesn’t like the idea of goodwill?) and encourage them to act accordingly.
Of course, actions do speak louder than words, so you too should always follow through with any characteristics you shout about. (See point 1).
(There’s nothing worse than working for a company who tell clients how generous they are to employees but who actually treat them quite badly – believe me.)
4. Consider new hires.
Of course, this kind of mentality needs to feed into your entire business and ultimately will affect your hiring decisions.
If you want to build a happy team who genuinely care for and support each other day-to-day, then you should hire people who will fit into that mould.
A lone wolf who doesn’t play well with others may not be the right addition for your team.
5. Spread goodwill outside of work.
Why not spread that goodwill outside of the office too?
Get your employees out for a day of volunteering (plenty of places are looking this Christmas…) or host a charity event? Or do a team 10k?
Charity work will strengthen relationships between your team and make them feel great – whilst doing something good for someone in need, that’s win-win-win!
Ready to spread some goodwill?
Have some fun and spread the love.
Recruiter Pro Tip
The festive season is a fantastic time to spread goodwill and cheer across the office; from Christmas presents and parties to competitions and voluntary work!
So what have you got planned?
If you’re running a bit behind and have no idea where to start, click here for some inspiration!
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Happy festive season.- Anthony Hughes