Throughout modern history, humanity and profits have been treated as being exclusive from one another. There have been many organisations over the past two decades which have proven that developing the humanity of one’s workforce in fact does not hinder the ability to generate a profit. Google is a great example of this.
Research commissioned by the OCTanner Company, and conducted by noted research firm the Jackson Organization of Columbia, found companies that effectively appreciate employee value enjoy a return on equity and assets between 2.4 per cent to 8.7 per cent more than firms that don’t.
It is the people in businesses who make it successful. When you, the business leader, recognise that the common interest of the whole is more important than the interest of the individual, you generate a working environment that you and those around you can be proud to be a part of. A culture that is inclusive, creative, collaborative and self-governing. The long-term benefits of compassionate communication far outweigh the effort involved in making it standard procedure within your organisation. It drives team productivity, increases ROI and reduces staff turnover.
It’s undoubtedly possible to make a profit at the cost of humanity and our ecosystems; modern capitalism has shown us that. However, the biggest cost to organisations when they do not make humanity a priority is the creation of toxic work environments. This type of workplace prompts a higher staff turnover, which consequently impacts reputation and success.
You need only look to the impact of staff working conditions within Sports Direct, which was brought to light in the past 12 months, as an example. Many organisations do not measure the actual cost of staff turnover. The average cost of replacing a mid-level to senior employee is between £5,000 to £8,000, not taking into account the months it takes to get a new employee ramped up to working at full capacity.
Not all business leaders have natural people skills and some are unaware of how they come across to others or don’t even care how they come across. The way we do or don’t communicate can be a cause of conflict, mistrust and strife. None of us is perfect, we all have our flaws and we have our strengths. We can all learn to improve the way we communicate and, in doing so, enrich how to relate to people, improve your support network and ultimately drive your business from surviving to thriving.
Great business leaders have learnt to be comfortable with their vulnerability and exercise their empathy muscle regularly. They have also learnt how to communicate with compassion. Being able to deliver difficult messages in a way that becomes generative rather than destructive. Learning to develop the following skills will help you to become a better leader:
Self-awareness: This is about really knowing you, your strengths and vulnerabilities.
Acceptance: Acceptance of self and acceptance of the other in any interaction and knowing that no one is perfect.
Mindfulness: Learning to stay in the now and letting go of thoughts that no longer serve you in improving yourself or your business.
Engagement: Actively listening and interacting with employees and colleagues with empathy.
Communicating with compassion is a skill that starts with improving your listening skills and stepping into some else’s shoes. Ensure you deliver difficult messages that are generative and not destructive. This facilitates the creation of an autonomous, empowered and engaged team.
Compassion in the workplace is not some hippy notion of employee togetherness. It is about learning how to relate to one another with empathy, and giving more back to employees and colleagues than superficial employee benefits. It’s an open, honest and deeply connected way of communicating that requires you to learn to be comfortable with your vulnerability.
If we can all drop the pretence of having to be know-it-alls, and reach toward one another and our humanity, by tapping into the natural ability which we are all born with for love and compassion, to help create new solutions to existing problems together. Allowing you to be a great leader and create a profitable business just by connecting to your compassion. It helps transform how you and those around you think, feel and behave. Creating a work place that people want to be a part of.
- Kavitha has just published her new book, Compassionism.