Profiting with Virtuousness to keep up with Employee Retention, started when I wrote this white paper to prove kindness does work.

imagination of the possibilities

In 2002, some business people would question, “What does kindness have to do with business, anyway?” Is this a for real question or just to prove a point? Or perhaps they couldn’t figure out what being kind really had to do with business. Or perhaps the word was a jargon word, an unfamiliar language. It like speaking Geek. You’ve got to be kidding, right?

If you look at the Customer Service or the People Departments of companies, one would think that using kind words, sympathetic listening, compassion, showing regard, being respectful, controlling one’s temper, not yelling at the customer or employee would figure into the equation of courtesy and respect. Now, if you were to search the Internet now for Kindness, you would find 50+pages on this one word. At the very beginning you would find the people who brought this ‘idea’ of kindness on to the market, and saying that we can actually profit from having or using ‘virtuousness’ in our businesses. WOW!

Fact one:

Olivia McIvor a HR Professional joined Canada Trust, where she went to work by putting the ‘human’ back into human resources. As the bank was dealing with large volumes of robberies and critical accidents each year she saw that it was imperative that the HR team was well trained. A comprehensive anti-violence campaign not only met, but also far exceeded the WCB requirements.

The Canada Trust Example 1999

In October Canada Trust CT celebrated their first Kindness to Kolleague Week. Her first step was to become very clear about her values and the outcome and where she wanted to see the organization in 2-5 years. Her vision was to see an organization where heart and soul is infused throughout the organization. There is a sense that our corporate soul has been awakened.

Her challenges were to overcome, like using the word Kindness in the business environment. Kindness takes respect and integrity to the next level- into action. It is a paradigm shift.

She approached her PR Manager, the Sr. Regional VP and our Retail Marketing Manager; they were all responsive and positive. In light with the merger with TD – Toronto Dominion they needed to pull everyone together as a team. Kindness is a very tangible and actionable way to bring people together. She also wrote to every Branch Manager and received a 99% buy-in from them. We found ways to link kindness with existing initiatives, like the Black Diamond Award, Healthy Living Programs and Gallup Opinion Survey and our Community service initiatives. The support of the senior managers helped Professionalize the program and the managers helped executed the initiatives.

(The Black Diamond Award was just for upper management, this time it was open to all employees.)
Olivia commenced immediately to work on rolling it out with 72 branches and approximately 20,000 employees. Her handbook is the result of the successes and learning that resulted over five months that it took to implement the program.

The Kindness to Kolleagues concept was a comprehensive retention tool that effectively communicated and was reinforced with employees, that CT was a great place to work.

In 2001, TD Trust received the Marketer of the year award, I just wonder if the Kindness program helped them to win the award?No, doubt in my mind. Do you think they profited from Kindness?

 Fact Two:

Are you Profiting from Rudeness and Bad Manners?
“Rudeness is increasingly common in our workplace and it’s taking a toll on employee happiness, customer satisfaction and even the bottom line.. We have come more competent in dealing with software and we have lost ground in dealing with human-ware. It’s about treating co-workers, subordinates and customers with respect and consideration”
Says: Giovinella Gonthier co-author of Rude Awakenings: overcoming the Civility Crisis in the Workplace.

Fact Three:

Canada ranks #4 out of 32 countries world-wide for workplace violence. The USA was at #24. Stress is the biggest cause. Roman Says: International Labour Organization –A study was completed in 1998. The study was done again in 1990 the same results showed up.

“Organizations in which employees perceive higher levels of virtuousness have a significantly higher profit margins? Not only revenue and profits are up, but employees are more productive, morale is higher, employee turnover is lower and customers are more loyal. Companies can now cash in on Kindness, up to a 15% return. It’s amazing companies that invest in human capital are creating economic capital.”

Fact Four:

A Study was done by a UM researcher, estimates a 15% increased value in companies with ‘virtuousness
Written by Richard Morin of the Washington Post October 2003

Cameron and his research colleagues, David Bright of Case Western Reserve University and Arran Caza of the University of Michigan, first did case studies of companies with national reputations for being kinder and gentler, including Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn. And CH2M Hill a Denver-based engineering and construction firm currently rated by Fortune magazine as one of the top 100 companies to work for. They made it tough, as they sought out organizations that had experienced downsizing in the past 5 years.

Fact Five:

Soul Graffiti Encourages Performing Kindness
Laura Lacy a staff writer for The Daily Beacon
Online In March 2003, founder and CEO Joe Powers turned promoting kindness into a career.“Kindness is something everyone, even the meanest people you know, deserve, “Ashley Overton, a sophomore in cinema studies, said ”Soul Graffiti is “the conscious act of performing kindness to another soul, resulting in leaving an everlasting imprint on another’s life.” Their website has received as many as 55,000 hits in one day and has seen visitor from nearly 35 countries.

Fact Six:

A Wealth of Happiness
By Karen Mazurkewich a staff reporter of the Wall Street Journal Oct. 8, 2004
This story takes place in Thimphu, Bhutan where the government threw out the usual indicators of measuring progress, replacing them instead with an innovative model call “Gross National Happiness”While GNH isn’t something that can be charted or ranked, Bhutan’s concept embraces everything from protecting natural resources to promoting a strong national culture and ensuring democratic governance – goals that help create a foundation of happiness for citizens.

Bhutan is a very rare example, probably the only example in the world, a country that has built happiness into the center of its development strategy “says Ron Coleman, Director of GPI Atlantic, a Canadian nonprofit research organization that studies the quality of life. They are sacrificing short-term income for long-term social health.”

The World Value Survey, a group of international social scientists, released a report last year that ranked happiness by country. The study, which analyzes the impact of values and beliefs on political and social life.The African country of Nigeria is the happiest in the world, the U.S. came in at 16. (Where does that leave the rest of us?)

The Master Plan was formalized in 1998, the pillars was sustainable economic development, conservation of the environment, the promotion of national culture and good governance, create conditions for happiness with reasonable success.

Since 1985, life expectancy has improved from 48 years to 66 years. Infant mortality dropped from 142 deaths per thousand to 61. The literacy rate has climbed from 23% to 54% of the population, the countries one University was inaugurated in 2003. Health facilities rose from 65 in 1985 to 155 today. GDP rose about 45%, moving from $445 million in 1999 to $645 million in 2003.

Bhutan is no utopia, they experience traffic jams at rush hours, strains from rapid growth they have acquired a huge population boom since the 1960’s because of the increased health care.Bhutan is one of the best places to raise a child, free medical care and education.

Kindness creates Happiness…

Fact Seven:

Sears Roebuck proved that they earned $200 million extra in 1997 as a result of improving employee satisfaction by 4%. They paved the way for us to capture the true costs of poor well-being.

Fact Eight:

Compassion seen Creating Loyalty Virginia Galt reports – Unkind and heartless bosses prompt employee departures

Professors Frost and Dutton advise managers that actions speak louder than words, even if the gesture is a simple as cooking a pot roast for a terminally ill employee and his family. That’s what a Sr. VP of Cisco Systems Inc., of San Jose, California did. Benjamin Group a Silicon Valley based PR firm, demonstrates its value by taking a stand on how employee are treated not only by their colleagues and mangers by also by their customers, suppliers and other business partners. The company refuses to do business with clients who are abusive to their employees and a few years ago dropped a million-dollar account at the time it was worth 20% of their annual business. “Employees were startled that the firm would go so far as that, however they were energized, too. Inspired by the PR company who cared about their will being, they worked extra hard to bring in new clients.”

Fact Nine:

“Business will stay and continue to stay where it is appreciated and valued.” Unknown

“One kind act by one kind person is the kind of action that shows kindred spirits how kindness can rekindle our oneness.” By Brock Tully

“Kindness is the glue that sticks us together…Use it generously.” By Mari-Lyn Hudson Harris

“It’s a damn shame that companies don’t recognize the simplicity of the kindness can do. We would rather have packaged under another name to be difficult and expensive. By Chris Sheback of ORMED, Edmonton

“The vital importance of Kindness that in the midst of global crisis kindness is too easily dismissed as a soft issue or a luxury to be addressed after the urgent problems are solved. Kindness is the greatest need in all our global concerns.” By Bo Lozoff the Human Kindness Foundation

Fact 10:: Let these other sites of information speak for themselves:

www.hollandsentinel.com
www.healthscorecared.com
www.gallup.com
www.welcoa.org
www.anitarodderick.com
www.ilo.org
www.policyalternatives.ca
www.canadaone.com/ezine.aug01/hr_management.html
www.bcentral.ca/archive/startup_centre/higherperformance.asp
www.businessedge.ca/featuresdetail.asp
www.jobbank.com/articles.kindnessinfiring.htm
www.kindacts.net

In the early 80’s by Anne Herbert who coined the phrase “Practice Random Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty” she got tired of hearing about violence in the news. In 1993, Conair Press published a book “Random Acts of Kindness” they asked for people to join the Kindness Revolution within six months they received 13,000 letters from people that wanted to join.

Since then the Kindness movement has grown to over 500 communities in the USA and Canada. In 1997, the World Kindness Movement was formed thus November 13, was declared as World Kindness Day.

In 1996, a Kindness Committee was formed by Debbie Riopel and Colleen Ring (two sisters) because of an act of violence. A blotched robbery turned into murder. Mayor Bill Smith proclaimed the second week in February as RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) week in Edmonton.

North America celebrates Kindness Week from November 9 – 14 World Kindness Day is November 13, which is proclaimed by the World Kindness Foundation, in Singapore. The movie “Pay it Forward” was made.

In 2001, Edmonton’s first Kindness Conference and the Kindness Awards were formed. Actually, the first for Canada. We received nominations from all across Canada for the awards. Ten Awards were given out to nominees.

This White Paper was originally written and published in 2002 by Mari-Lyn Hudson Harris.

Mari-Lyn Harris

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