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World Kindness Day

It is World Kindness Day on 13th November. In this article Troy Winfield, HR Advisor, shares some insights he has learned from delivering Kindness and Inclusion workshops as well as some of his own personal reflections on the meaning of kindness.

For many of us, kindness is a word that has always been in our vocabularies. It’s a word we are taught from the people in our lives; family, friends, teachers and neighbours.

We also draw understanding and meaning of kindness based on our direct experiences with others and from observing the experiences of others within the world around us.

We all use this word and we all understand the meaning behind it. However, perhaps we don’t often think specifically about what kindness at work means, how we all contribute to this and the impact this can have on the morale and culture of the team in which we work in.

For me this was something I wanted to spend time researching, so that I could have a deeper understanding of the role kindness plays in our teams. I have been lucky to have the opportunity of delivering a Kindness and Inclusion workshop at some of our Social Care services, learn more from open discussions with our colleagues and develop service-specific team kindness charters. I have also recently had the pleasure of sharing some of these resources with our HR colleagues with the scope that this may be delivered in more of our services.

What is kindness to me?

I define kindness as the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. You may have a similar or a different explanation and that’s OK!

Kindness isn’t solely defined in our actions; it also has a place in our motivations.
It’s important to note that kindness isn’t something we can only extend to those around us, we can demonstrate kindness also to ourselves and the wider world.

How do we demonstrate kindness at work?

Absolutely everyone has the right to be treated with kindness and respect at work. Kindness is at the heart of Cygnet’s values of care, respect, empower, trust and integrity. Cygnet centres kindness within a number of its policies and procedures; such as our code of conduct, Inclusion & Diversity policy, Freedom To Speak Up and our multicultural and LGBTQ+ staff representative networks.

Studies have shown that kindness at work creates a positive workplace culture, builds trust amongst colleagues and increases our job satisfaction. Studies have also shown kindness to be contagious, in the sense that when people are treated kindly, they are often compelled to act in a similar way for others around them. Some of these factors are critical in the overall morale and culture of a team.

Showing kindness doesn’t have to be complicated and is often demonstrated in simple acts. Some tips on increasing kindness within our services could be;

  • Extending a warm welcome to new colleagues
  • Showing support to a colleague
  • A smile
  • Making someone a brew
  • A compliment
  • Offering help
  • Encouraging each other to succeed
  • Acknowledging when something has gone well
  • Showing appreciation – saying thank you
  • Characters of Care nomination

How do we demonstrate kindness to ourselves?

This is all about self-care, which is an important factor in maintaining our physical and mental well-being. It’s the principle of looking after ourselves and the ways in which we do this will be unique to all of us. This is because we all have different interests and strategies for making ourselves feel good.

Some examples of self-care could be;

  • Socialising with friends and family
  • A hair cut
  • Sports / Gym
  • Getting a good night’s sleep
  • Relaxing bath
  • Listening to music
  • Watching a film
  • Having a takeaway
  • Annual leave / taking a holiday

Cygnet promotes staff to take part in self-care and has a number of physical and mental health wellbeing resources available for colleagues.

World Kindness Day 2021

November 13th 2021 marks ‘World Kindness Day’.

This is a global occasion to highlight and raise awareness of treating not just ourselves and those immediately around us kindly, but also the world. The aim of this initiative is to create a kind world, to bridge gaps between nations and overcome divides.

World Kindness Day is the principle that kindness is contagious; one act of kindness, no matter how big or small, starts a domino effect that will influence the behaviour of those within and beyond our communities.

On World Kindness Day, I would encourage reflection on what kindness means to you and the role it plays in benefiting you, your colleagues and the world.

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