We’ve all heard the mantras about being kind. Kindness is a virtue, random acts of kindness, and all the different ways that people are encouraged to be kind to one another. But what you may not think about is how businesses are shaping behaviors that improve kindness, even in everyday life. Through technology, different work programs, and even little things that change human behavior, it’s leading to little acts of kindness that wouldn’t otherwise happen. There are many ways that businesses can help others be kind, but first, let’s look at what kindness is.
Webster defines kindness as simply being friendly, considerate, and generous. Some might even say that being concerned about the goodwill of others is an aspect of kindness. Showing kindness is an intentional act. It’s holding the door open for someone who has their hands full. It’s letting the lady with only two things in her hands check out ahead of you when you have two cartloads full. It’s withholding saying something cruel that isn’t necessary to say.
Kindness is taking the cart back to the cart return on a hot summer day so the staff doesn’t have to work as hard to go retrieve all the carts. Being considerate of others’ welfare is a key part of being kind. It doesn’t mean that you have to be a doormat yourself and let people walk all over you. But kindness is about being friendly. But businesses are helping people make kinder decisions, and here’s how.
The problems with leaving your cart in the parking lot in random places are twofold. On the one hand, it means a staff member would need to constantly go retrieve them and put them back in the building. On the other hand, it means that people may not be able to easily get a cart when they go shopping. IT creates an inconvenience that can be challenging when you need to go shopping.
One of the ways that companies like Aldi have solved this problem is to require a quarter to get your cart. When you return the cart, you get your quarter back. It’s that simple. In the process, there are countless people who decide to still return the cart, and leave the quarter in, so that the next person doesn’t need to worry about finding a quarter to use. Not only did they make it so that a person needed to put in a deposit for their cart, but then it created random acts of kindness when people still return the cart but leave it so that others don’t need to pay also. This phenomenon is also seen in airports with airport carts as well.
Reducing Unkind Words on the Internet
People get bold with their words online and unfortunately, there is no filter that shows people’s intentions with those words. These can lead to a lot of misunderstandings, especially if those words are very direct and can appear mean, harsh, or inflammatory in some way. Companies like Nextdoor have implemented a system that looks for those kinds of words and phrases. And while it doesn’t exactly censor anyone, it does let people know that those kinds of words don’t appear to be kind. There is a reason that they are among the top 100 companies. Their innovative approach to curb these red flags has caused up to 30% of people to change the wording or not post it at all.
Days off to Volunteer
Giving back to others is another way to show kindness. Volunteering at a homeless shelter, food bank, or other local non-profit benefits the community in so many ways. Many people would love to volunteer more often, but work requires them to take their vacation and PTO to do this. Some people can’t afford to dip into these reserves, so they choose not to volunteer instead. Businesses with transparent HR policies are starting to do something new. Some companies have started to offer benefits that allow their staff to take a special day off just to volunteer. They still get paid their salary, and the employee gets to give back. This is another way that companies are helping to improve kindness in everyday life. They encourage their staff to find an organization they are passionate about and to generously give of their time.