While no employer would set out to be unkind, actively being a kind employer might not be top of the agenda.
Businesses have other things to focus on, whether it is marketing their services, carrying out jobs, planning for the future or just a whole mountain of admin.
Employees are appreciated, but equally they are well paid to do their job. Hopefully they are happy, but ultimately their happiness is not the business’ key aim.
That sort of attitude might be the reality for many, but may we suggest it is somewhat self defeating.
There might be a sense that in a perfect world, if time was infinite, of course employers would be kind, they would take great interest in their employees.
We would argue that the efforts to be a kind employer actually boost the business, far from taking away from the core aims they help achieve them.
Being a kind employer leads to happier staff, more motivated staff, staff who go out of their way for their employers, staff who stay and are not tempted by offers elsewhere and staff who are far less likely to need periods off work.
If you think of the business as one being, then the acts of kindness from the top down make every part of it healthier, better, more productive.
There is also great weight behind this argument. The Harvard Business Review wrote a superb post on this topic, and for a weightier take Stanford University psychologist Jamil Zaki found that witnessing kindness caused it to spread like a contagion.
You could ask employees to go out of their way to make your business stand out – some might but after a while it will probably taper off. Alternatively, creating a culture of kindness and people feeling truly valued causes it so happen organically.
What, though, is this culture of kindness and how can an business help establish one.
Small touches help, politeness, a friendly work environment but we are also thinking beyond that to items with a tangible value, benefits that make any employee feel valued.
You can offer benefits which help employees save a fortune and also make their life easier – a workplace nursery scheme for instance, this can save an employee £2,900 a year if their nursery fees come to £1,000 per month.
With this benefit, the nursery would benefit too with extra funds from the Workplace Nursery Scheme and your employee would get a say as to what this funding was spent on.
Any employee with a child could save money, have childcare at a superb nursery and also see extra funds going to that nursery – and a say on what these funds get spent on, perhaps upgrading an outside play space, or getting new learning resources.
Gym membership is another common offer, so too cycle to work schemes or workplace parking. These are all things that employees require and will be paying for – how much better does it make them feel if their employee arranges discounts for them, guaranteed parking spaces, makes their life that bit easier.
As an employer, you can save money too by using these schemes and, we could also point out, having employees using the same gym thanks to the savings available is great for team building too.
A final benefit to mention – and this is just one more example from a whole suite an employer can offer – is the Employee Assistance Programme.
With this programme, any employee can get confidential help and advice with any issues that might be affecting them – EAP gives your employees AND dependants access to confidential counselling, advice and assistance on a wide variety of work and personal issues, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
This can be the most valuable benefit any employer offers as it promotes well-being, it shows compassion and caring, allowing employees a confidential source of advice and help – and it limits the impact any life event will have on productivity.
Any employee going through a divorce, or bereavement or a positive life event such as marriage is sure to be distracted at times. This programme helps the individual and also helps the business through the reduction in time off and also helping reduce any drop in performance while in work.
Altogether, a range of benefits helps make an employer appear kind and caring, they are things that go beyond just salary; making life easier, making people feel appreciated, making you a place people both want to work for and then to stay with.
At Enjoy Benefits, we are experts in setting up the perfect collection of benefits for all types of businesses big and small.
If you would like to know more about how to offer employee discounts or how to create a suite of benefits for employees, please get in touch with us on 0800 088 7315 or visit this page to leave us a message.