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The power of kindness and compassion in the workplace

  • Posted on December 10, 2020
  • Estimated reading time 2 minutes

The cliché is not lost on me that I am an Australian and an Avanade boomerang! When I returned to Avanade two years ago, one of the key things which drew me back was the desire to be part of a more rewarding culture. An environment that’s inclusive, motivating and where kindness and compassion are part of our DNA. Pam often talks about inspired, confident and cared for, and I see this demonstrated in actions across our organization.

This year, we have all faced significant uncertainty where kindness & compassion have never been more important. And in my view, an act of kindness can be in the form of empathy. Putting yourself in other people’s shoes – your team, individuals within that team or more broadly, anyone whom you work with. It helps you to understand more about the people you work with and how you can make a genuine human impact on them by providing the support they need.

The ripple effect: Paying it forward

It’s also about role modelling – encouraging and influencing kindness and compassion so it’s seen as the norm and not just a ‘nice to have’. Integrating small acts of kindness is infectious in a work environment, it helps to create a happy and positive mindset. And this will influence how we show up for our clients and the quality of the work that we deliver.

Over the years, I have experienced acts of kindness at work that have had a lasting effect on me. One that stood out for me happened very early on in my career. I was working in an environment that had lots of big egos, dominant personalities and loud voices in our meetings. Initially, I found it intimidating and would often remain quiet and not offer up opinions or ask questions.

However, my leader at the time, would remind us that the loudest voices are not always right or more valued. He created space for my opinion to be heard. I have never forgotten this act of kindness he showed me, and how it made me feel. Now, I am always conscious about that when facilitating, especially in my team meetings. Understanding different personalities and our diverse cultures, showing kindness and consideration to everyone, and enabling all voices to be heard is so important.

Spreading kindness virtually

Since we started working from home, I have had to try new things to stay connected including regular virtual coffees with team members and even virtual team meeting walks. These have been great fun and helped our physical and mental well-being at the same time - increasing our step counts and being in a different working environment, as opposed to the usual home office or kitchen table!

I’ve also introduced check-ins and chip-ins! Check-in regularly on how they are doing in and out of work. But also, chip-in where I reach out to people to see where they have challenges and help to share the load. This could be providing advice, mentoring or rolling up my sleeves to work together to get the job done.

One of the top tips that I would give to everyone at Avanade when it comes to compassion and kindness is reaching out to our new joiners! From my own experience, I know how important my internal network has been from a work and support perspective. Our colleagues who have joined us in the last 12 months have probably had one of the most extraordinary onboarding experiences. Many of them probably have not had the chance to meet anyone from Avanade in person, never set foot inside an Avanade office and their entire experience of the company has been over Microsoft Teams.

Now, whenever we have a new team member joining us, I make it a point to reach out to them to help foster a sense of belonging and introduce colleagues to expand their networks. This is a simple gesture which goes a long way.

Compassion and kindness involves an authentic desire to help others. When we treat ourselves and others with consideration, we rally in a way that uplifts the team and builds trust. So, be under no illusion – these little acts of kindness can have a lasting and positive impact on the receiver but also on your own attitude and emotional well-being!

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