Random Acts of Kindness come in many forms and get quite a bit of ‘airtime’ on social media in various guises such as the ‘Pay It Forward’ scheme, Toyota’s ‘Selflessie’ campaign and Virgin Atlantic’s ‘Give Away A Gift A Day’ programme.

Chris Lowe, director at Shopper Anonymous has just applied to become a RAKtivist as he believes it should be an easy job for him – “given my sunny disposition!”

Random Acts of Kindness come in many forms and get quite a bit of ‘airtime’ on social media in various guises such as the ‘Pay It Forward’ scheme, Toyota’s ‘Selflessie’ campaign and Virgin Atlantic’s ‘Give Away A Gift A Day’ programme.

Whether it’s a random and surprising act or a constant and pervading attitude of kindness and consideration, many businesses excel at fostering a positive approach with their team.

In 2010, the then-CEO of Burt’s Bees, John Replogle, was heading a global expansion into 19 new countries. In a high-pressure situation with huge imminent changes, John chose to focus on reducing the anxiety levels of the whole team.

He sent out a daily e-mail praising a specific team member for work related to the global rollout and invited an expert in to facilitate a three-hour session on happiness with employees during the expansion effort.

Members of the senior team reported that Replogle’s emphasis on fostering positive leadership kept his managers engaged and cohesive as they successfully made the transition to a global company.

Last year, Pret A Manger introduced a ‘Make Someone Smile’ campaign. Pret’s baristas chose 120,000 customers at random and put a special sleeve on their takeaway coffee cup. 

The chosen customers are in turn encouraged to pass the sleeve onto somebody else – a friend, a colleague, or even a stranger – who can redeem it for a free coffee or tea. 

Dr Fieldman, who has spent time researching altruism at Oxford, explains,

“Altruism – or the act of doing something for somebody else at a cost to yourself – has a fascinating effect on us. It can help us feel better about ourselves, and a simple act of kindness can create authentic feelings of joy; not just for the person on the receiving end, but also for the person doing the giving.”

The Burt’s Bees example is a very successful illustration of a ‘leader-driven’ positive mindset campaign. In the second case, Pret A Manger’s campaign clearly encourages the employees to become enthusiastic, by empowering them to ‘spread the love’.

Research shows that when an individual works with a positive mind-set, performance on nearly every level—productivity, creativity, engagement—improves considerably. And encouraging your team to offer kindness to all customers should be a straightforward mission. However, if you yourself do not set the tone by practicing kindness amongst your own team, your objectives will miss the mark.

Our top tips for creating happy employees:

•  Give spontaneous gifts or rewards if a team member excels
•  
Have weekly or monthly awards with small prizes such as cinema tickets
•  Introduce Friday ‘cakey-break’ and bring in cakes/treats for your team. Or fresh fruit or sushi or popcorn……
•  Handwritten notes go a long way in expressing gratitude
•  Give a ‘leave-work-two-hours-early’ voucher to deserving team members

Our top tips for creating happy customers: 

•  Host special events on holidays
•  
Provide free snacks or beverages
•  
Create a community bulletin board – virtual or real, and let customers comment or advertise etc
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Support/sponsor local events such as fairs, fun runs and seasonal events
•  
Suggest complimentary products or services from other businesses

I am sure I will treat my new role as an RAKtivist with the enthusiasm it deserves. Whether or not you decide to follow my lead and become a RAKtivist too, if you are interested in spreading some kindness, you can discover some more innovative and fresh ways to encourage kindness on the RAKtivist website.

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