Kindness in the Workplace: It Just Makes (Dollars &) Cents

happy employees

Killer Infographics thinks it’s important for their workers to be happy, and they’re encouraged to have fun. Photo credit: KillerInfographics.com

 

Why Kindness Is Important

Kindness is important everywhere, and the workplace is no exception! The power of kindness is extraordinary. But when we talk about the workplace, there are some important additional reasons why kindness is so vital.

Treating employees well and making them happy affects the bottom line. As shown in the diagram below, employee happiness increases profits three ways:

  1.     By increasing customer satisfaction, and thereby increasing sales.
  2.     By decreasing absenteeism, and thereby reducing the costs associated with absenteeism.
  3.     By improving employee retention, and thereby reducing the costs associated with replacing an employee.
workplace kindness map

Workplace Kindness Map
By Carol Preibis

There are numerous research studies to support this model.

employment engagement

employee engagement = success

Photo credit: betterworks.com

Dr. Noelle Nelson is a clinical psychologist, business trial consultant, and best-selling author of Make More Money by Making Your Employees Happy. In her book, Nelson cites a study from the Jackson Organization, which shows, “companies that effectively appreciate employee value enjoy a return on equity and assets more than triple that experienced by firms that don’t. When looking at Fortune’s ’100 Best Companies to Work For,’ stock prices rose an average of 14% per year from 1998-2005 compared to 6% for the overall market.” Dr. Nelson explains, “When employees feel that the company takes their interest to heart, then the employees will take company interests to heart.”

low employee engagement is a crisis for businesses

Photo credit: Kevin Kruse

absenteeism

The American Psychology Association tells us that stress is a major cause of illness today, and often workplace stress is the primary cause. This contributes to workplace absenteeism, which causes considerable direct and indirect costs to businesses. According to a white paper from Circadian, “A company of 5,000 hourly employees has the potential to reduce costs by over $7.9 million per year, or 3.2% of total payroll.”

employee retention

 A white paper by the Kenexa® Research Institute reveals that organizations with highly engaged employees achieve twice the annual net income of organizations whose employees lag behind on engagement. Their conclusion: “It is clear that properly-fitted leadership practices give rise to an engaged workforce—a workforce positioned to deliver the organization’s customer value proposition. Loyal customers lead to market share gains, greater profitability and long-term success.”

Are You Listening?

Listen.
In every office
you hear the threads
of love and joy and fear and guilt,
the cries for celebration and reassurance,
and somehow you know that connecting those threads
is what you are supposed to do
and business takes care of itself.
Someone needs to say “amen”.

 Amen. — Stanza of a poem called Threads, by a former CEO and author of Love and Profit, James Autry

CCC is honored to host this 2-part series on the value of kindness in the workplace written by Carol Preibis. Part 2 will focus on how businesses can achieve a kinder workplace and enjoy the benefits mentioned in this post. For more on Carol, keep reading.  

Carol Preibis

Carol is passionate about food, recipes and cooking.

 

Carol Preibis and her sister Michele value the Simple Life and want to help you shed the complicated nature of today’s world. They share insights on food, decorating, stress relief and living more simply, while actually enjoying day-in, day-out living. Looking for a scrumptious, healthy recipe? Trying to figure out how to have fun on a budget? Head to Ahh The Simple Life to start feeling better and getting more out of your life.

Go Beyond 140: Hold a Tweetup

Every time I hear the word tweetup, this classic dances into my head.

 

What’s a tweetup? It’s a face-to-face meeting of people who are on Twitter. That’s it. The concept is simple, but it’s not always easy to pull off. If you’re thinking about holding a tweetup at your next event, keep these tips in mind:

posing for the camera

At a tweetup? Have fun and talk to people!

Location, location, location. Just like in real estate, it’s all about the location. Pick a spot that can accommodate the expected number of attendees and is accessible, but not in the main drag, so to speak. If everyone’s already in the lobby or at the hotel bar, then don’t hold your tweetup there. It will be too difficult to figure out who’s at the tweetup and who’s just hanging out there. (p.s. It’s helpful to pick a location with strong phone service and/or WiFi so people can actually tweet at your tweetup.)

It’s all about the plan. It may seem like everyone just shows up, but that’s not the case — especially if you want everything to run smoothly. Besides scouting the location, you need to figure out the other aspects. Prizes and special guests will help draw a crowd while hors d’oeuvres or snacks will be appreciated. You can also have a theme for your tweetup; raise money or collect canned goods for a cause or tie it to your overall event (i.e. recharge at your tweetup at a racing-themed event with snacks, seating areas & phone chargers)

Hello, my name is… Yes, you’ll probably have some type of badge or name tag if you’re at an event, but it won’t showcase your Twitter handle. Remember, Twitter handles aren’t always people’s names, so it’s helpful to have name tags (and pens/markers) for people to write their handles on. It also gives attendees something to do when they first arrive and serves as an ice breaker. You can design a custom template for your event or offer different colors of name tags to differentiate between attendees (i.e. green for exhibitors, blue for staff). Whatever route you go with the name tags, make sure you can see the Twitter handles. That’s what you’re there for!

Tweet about it! Let people know the tweetup will be happening and then fill in the details once they’re available. You don’t have to promote the exact details too far in advance either. In fact, some people wait until the night before or morning of the tweetup to tweet the exact time and location. Keep other promotion to a minimum. A tweetup is specifically for people on Twitter, so there’s really no need to promote it on Facebook or Instagram (that’s an InstaMeet, anyway). Onsite promotion isn’t necessary either. While you need people to find the location, you don’t need to attract interest from the passing traffic. (p.s. Creating a specific hashtag is your call. If you already have an event hashtag, it may only cause confusion.)

The tweetup day’s here! Arrive early to make sure everything’s ready to go and begin welcoming your Twitter followers. Introduce yourself to attendees and remind them about the name tags and snacks along with any prize giveaways or special guests. Encourage them to check in at your tweet up or tweet pictures and updates.

Have fun! You’ve done the work, now enjoy yourself. Go beyond 140 characters, and get to know attendees beyond their Twitter handle. One last thing… don’t forget to stop tweeting long enough to actually talk to the people in front of you. 😉

Tweet about it

Have you attended or organized a tweetup?

What tips would you add? Is there anything you tried that did not work?

Would you recommend a specific tweetup hashtag?

Rockin’ Robin video courtesy of Buddha Mist YouTube Channel

Tweet, Tweet, A Tweetin’,
Jaime

Until we meet at a tweetup, let’s connect online:
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Make A Ripple… And Change The World

A ripple. It’s not much by itself. But it’s amazing what happens as more and more ripples gather together: they cause change. Whether you’re trying to make the world a better place, become healthier or advance your career, small acts and minor decisions do matter.

Hocking Hills Resevoir

Enough ripples can become a tidal wave.

We love dramatic reveals after makeovers, watching contestants reshape their bodies on the Biggest Loser and seeing people use a financial windfall to do good. The only problem is that these situations aren’t relevant for 99% of us, so we feel helpless. 

But we can make a difference — in our own lives, our communities and even the world. The key is to make small changes and commit small acts. They’re sustainable, we can incorporate them into our lifestyles and they add up to make a big difference.

What if every person recycled one plastic bottle a month? Would our landfills be lighter? What if you replaced one sugary drink with a glass of water daily? Would you be healthier? Think about this: If you replace one 12 oz can of soda with water every day, you’d save 51,100 calories a year and lose about 15 pounds. (Source)

It goes beyond your physical health. Has someone made your day recently with a small act of kindness? Maybe they held the door when your hands were full or let you pull out during the busy commute home. Or perhaps a co-worker brought you a coffee one morning or a friend made a minor repair to your car. Isn’t the power of kindness amazing?

Apparently, it doesn’t just make us feel warm and fuzzy inside. More and more evidence points to kindness actually making us healthier in a number of ways. Learn more in an insightful blog post, The Science of Kindness: How It Makes Us Healthier, on Ahh The Simple Life. You can also read more about the power of kindness and discover fun, easy ideas to pay it forward here.

At CCC, we’re big believers in the Pay It Forward movement and try to make a difference every day. We’re not making million dollar donations or ending poverty (we wish we could), but we are saving lives by donating platelets and volunteering our time and talents.

What small act are you committing to make a difference in your own life or your community? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below to help inspire others to join the movement and make our world a better place.

p.s. Need a reason to smile? Search the #PayItForward or #UNselfie hashtag on your favorite social platform to read about the good going on in the world. (Add your own story!)

Paying it forward,
Jaime

Let’s connect (and change the world):
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On Writing…

Writing. It’s something we all learned to do at an early age, but some people are more adept at it than others. If you’re trying to improve your writing, here are a few tips I’ve picked up since I started writing at age 3. 🙂

I still love filling notebooks with my thoughts and chicken scratch.

Write often. Then write some more. It’s amazing how much more confident you feel about your writing when you practice, practice, practice. Blogging, notebooks, a journal or your Mac, the platform and audience doesn’t really matter. Just keep writing.

Can’t write? Read. Even if you’re not an avid reader, find something — or someone — you like. It doesn’t have to be business-related or in your field. As much as I enjoy psychology and sociology books, my favorite author of all time is Stephen King, a master of words. I’ve learned so much from reading his works.

“If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.” –Stephen King

Say something. Seriously. Read what you just wrote and ask yourself what the takeaway is. If you can’t come up with anything, then neither can your audience.

Don’t waste words. While the type of writing depends on your audience, platform and objectives, never waste words. If a word or paragraph doesn’t add anything to your work, leave it out. Being eloquent doesn’t have to mean being wordy.

Dot your i’s and cross your t’s. Proofreading isn’t optional, even in the era of instant publishing and smartphone communication. Poor spelling, grammar and punctuation reflects poorly on the author, no matter what platform. It’s usually helpful to have others proofread your work, but if that’s not possible, at least try to walk away for awhile. It’s amazing what fresh eyes can see.

Grammar can change everything.

So grammar’s not important, huh?
Photo credit: Writers.com (h/t Kathy Yoho)

Beat writer’s block. It happens to anyone who writes sooner or later, but there are actions you can take. Get moving. A brisk walk, an energetic game of basketball or an afternoon hike can be just what you need. They also draw your attention elsewhere. Sometimes when you try so hard to think about something, your brain locks up. It’s not a coincidence that so many great ideas, from novels to solving a client’s issue, happen in the shower or during a run. Think about something else, and the words will probably start flowing again.

Carry a notebook. While I’m old school and love to fill notebooks with my chicken scratch, you may prefer the digital domain. Either way, always carry a notebook (even if it’s your smartphone). You never know when, or where, an idea will strike.

Related reading: Things I Carry: Pen and Paper

Write to your audience. It’s helpful to know who your audience is so you can write to them. Speak in their language, play to their interests and use words they understand. Have you ever read something that seemed like it was written just for you? That’s the power of writing to your audience.

Pay attention. The world is full of writing topics; you just have to see (hear, smell, feel or sense) them. Pay attention to your surroundings, even during mundane tasks. You’ll be surprised what can come out of a walk in the park or your daily commute. I’ve had ideas for blog posts pop into my head while driving through a local metro park and making leg lamp cookies.

What tips would you add?

Where’s your favorite place to write (or read)?

Have you ever read writing outside of your ‘comfort zone’ and loved it?

While we’re all expected to be writers these days, some people just aren’t comfortable putting their thoughts on paper (or screen). Is that you? Then I’d love to work my magic for you

Writing away,
Jaime

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The Road Less Traveled

the road less traveled

Sand Run Metro Park : March 13, 2014


The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day! 
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 

–Robert Frost

How has taking the road less traveled made a difference in your life? Where has it led you?

Making my own path,
Jaime

Follow CCC on the road less traveled…
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Wristbands: Carrying Your Message for Miles (and Years)

When the Livestrong Foundation (formerly known as the Lance Armstrong Foundation) launched the iconic yellow silicone wristband in 2004 as a fundraising initiative, I hoped it would raise some money for a worthy cause. I had no idea that it would catch on across the country — and around the world — as one of the hottest promotional products around. To date, over 80 million Livestrong bands have been sold, inspiring countless other charitable organizations, companies and brands to share their message in this popular manner.

silicone wristbands

Silicone wristbands are so popular even Elvis has his eye on them.

 Like so many others, I thought this trend would never last. Who would want to wear these promotional wristbands? Nearly everyone, it turns out. From young to old and red to blue, people of all ages, nationalities, genders, political beliefs and lifestyles want to rock a wristband. That’s one of many reasons the silicone wristband is here to stay. Ten years later, this staple promotional product is produced in a plethora of colors promoting metro parks to marathons and everything in between.

If you’re interested in promoting your company or brand with a reminder around the wrist, keep the following variables in mind:

  • decoration method
  • imprint location
  • imprint colors
  • band sizes
  • band colors
  • packaging options
  • quantity
  • in-hands date

All of these factors can affect your pricing, and different options make sense for different objectives.

In addition to exposure, silicone wristbands are also helpful at events. Hand them out to attendees at concerts, conferences and sporting events to easily identify who should be admitted and who shouldn’t. They’re durable, easily spotted and can be kept long after the event for continued exposure and as a keepsake.

Whatever your message is, it’ll go far on a silicone wristband.

Weigh In

What silicone wristbands are in your collection?

Are you surprised at this product’s staying power or did you think it would be a hit?

When did you get your first silicone wristband?

Have you promoted your brand, company, cause, organization or event with one?

Rockin’ the wristband,
Jaime

We don’t have wristbands, but we do have social networks. Connect with CCC!
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50 Years of Satisfaction: How You Can Learn From The ‘Stones

On a recent visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, I was reminded how amazing the Rolling Stones are. They’re still rocking 50 years later and are as relevant as ever. While browsing the two-floor 50 Years of Satisfaction exhibit, I started thinking about how successful of a business venture the band — and brand — is. What can we learn from these legendary rock stars?

the Rolling Stones brand

It’s All About The Brand — In 1962, these aspiring musicians didn’t just seek to form a band; they wanted a defining brand. Yes, they love making music, but Mick, Keith & co also understood the business side of creating and promoting a successful brand as they grew… and grew. Today, the iconic red tongue is as recognizable as the Nike swoosh and McDonald’s golden arches.

Image

Adapt (& Improvise) To Survive — 50 years is a long time to be relevant. The band has adapted throughout the years by adjusting its sound without losing its identity, especially as band members have come and gone. They’ve also followed their instincts and pursued opportunities that felt right, even when they went against the grain. Today, they’ve embraced social media and the digital landscape to connect and promote. How can you improvise to survive and thrive?

Mick enjoying a little "reading"

Stay True To Yourself — The trick to adapting is to remain true to yourself. The Stones are the Stones, like them or not. They hit the scene as the bad boys of rock when it was anything but popular. As they’ve dropped the drugs and hit late middle age, their music has followed. Their lyrics speak of their current lives and experiences, which fans appreciate and identity with.

The Rolling Stones: 50 Years of Satisfaction

Remain In Control — They’ve experimented, argued, taken changes and closed deals, but they’ve always remained in control of their band and brand. While the Stones have no problem working with business managers, partners and companies, they always have final say over projects and products that bear their name. Keep that in mind as you approach new opportunities.

So there you have it… How the Rolling Stones have survived and thrived in a cut-throat, fast-moving, trend-driven industry. Oh, and some amazing music, legendary live shows and fabulous albums, too.

Open Mic

Are you a Stones fan?

What else have you learned from the Rolling Stones or other performers?

Have you used ideas from other industries to improve your business or brand?

Who’s your favorite musical act of all time?

All photos taken at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH 

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,
Jaime

You Can’t Always Get What You Want… but you can connect with CCC:
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33 Lessons in 33 Years

I recently came across a fun post, 32 Lessons from 32 Years of Life. The timing was perfect as I was pondering what to post about on my birthday (Yep, Pisces here.), and I had actually been toying with the idea of this type of post.

I hope you find these short lessons useful, and please feel free to chime in with your own at the end. So, here goes… lessons I’ve learned from 33 years of living:

1. You’re only as good as your word. Don’t break it. (Read: If You Say You’re Going To Do Something, Do It!)

2. Take care of your body. It’s the only one you have.

kicking toward the finish line

Running makes me happy and clears my mind. What’s your favorite activity?

3. Own your decisions. You are responsible for you — not anyone else.

4. Pay it forward. Karma has a way of reciprocating. You’ll  benefit more than those you help anyway. Trust me.

5. Make time for you. It’s not selfish; it’s necessary to recharge and be at your best.

6. Some “vices” are OK. If you really enjoy something, do it (unless it harms others).

7. Pay attention. You’ll learn so much by being observant, in business and in life.

8. Learn from the past, look forward to the future, but live in the present. It’s the best show there is. If you’re constantly reliving things or worrying about future events, you’ll miss a lot of wonderful moments.

9. Learn to give — and receive — constructive criticism. (“This is terrible” or “you’re stupid” is not constructive.)

10. Listen, listen, listen. It will take you far in life.

11. Follow your gut. It’s your instinct for a reason.

12. Try new things — foods, adventures, travels. You never know what you’ll fall in love with. (Like ice skating, for me.)

ice skating

Snow, wind & ice. Lots of ice. Enjoying some time on the pond — the best part of winter.

13. Respect your values and beliefs. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, it’s OK to walk away. (Read: Gray Area: Do Ethics Still Have a Place in Business?)

14. An interview is a two-way conversation about an opportunity. Relax.

15. The devil IS in the details. Handle those and the rest will follow.

16. Do something special for yourself monthly, or more often if you can. Because you’re worth it. (Thanks, L’Oreal.)

17. Don’t project your bad day outward. Just because you’re in a bad mood, everyone else doesn’t have to be.

18. Social media’s great, but get social in real life too. (Read: Social Media’s Nice, But It’s Not IRL)

19. Embrace the mundane. It’s 80% of life. (Listen: This is Water, David Foster Wallace)

20. If you feel like getting dressed up to go to the store, go for it. Likewise, if you head out in workout gear, it’s no big deal. Life doesn’t hinge on what you’re wearing. (Granted, there are occasions where your dress is dictated by the occasion. Embrace it.)

21. Sometimes, you can buy happiness. Just don’t try it all the time.

22. Value those close to you. Don’t take them for granted, because some day they won’t be there.

Color Run Akron 2013

My sister-in-law, brother & I after Color Run Akron.

23. Make the extra effort. It usually pays off — even if no one’s watching.

24. Have a strong handshake, a genuine smile and a killer pair of earrings. (Gentlemen, I hear cuff links produce the same effect.)

25. Laugh a lot. It’s the best medicine, and you don’t need a prescription.

Yours truly, enjoying the moment

Yours truly, enjoying the moment.

26. Don’t waste too much time worrying. It really doesn’t change things.

27. Think through major decisions but don’t be afraid to act. Indecision can be paralyzing and leave you watching from the sidelines.

28. Be impulsive every once in awhile. Do something crazy at least once in your life.

29. Celebrate birthdays. Age brings wisdom and life experience. Appreciate them.

30. Think — every single day. It never goes out of style.

31. Listen to your body. It’s amazing what it can tell you.

32. “Never being satisfied” makes a great motivational poster but leaves you feeling empty inside. Always wanting more can leave you broke and alone. Enjoy your achievements and appreciate what you have. Remember, perfection is unattainable.  (Read: What’s your riddle?)

33. Be genuine in everything you do. It’s easier in the long run, and people will appreciate you for it. Eventually, you’ll even find people who like you for who you are.

“And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life…”  –Lester Burnham, American Beauty

stick em up!

Bonnie & Clyde… back in the day.

I’ve never really grown up (vertically challenged here), but I have learned a lot. Like a good hat can make up for just about anything, even a really crappy day.

Share Your Lessons

What lesson(s) have you learned?

Do any of these lessons resonate with you? Do you disagree with any?

Maybe we can all learn to navigate this crazy thing we call life a little better.

Cheers,
Jaime

Life lesson: Connect with others!
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