This theme is covered in the media by many business leaders from all sectors, but what exactly is it about? Benevolence is a disposition of mind that encourages understanding and indulgence towards others. In what way can this notion of listening to and respecting others become a managerial tool for a company’s performance? And, how can benevolence be sustainably cultivated within a team?
Benevolence in companies: a real performance factor
According to a 2017 Gallup survey, only 10% of European employees feel committed to their work. The reasons for this result are often a lack of flexibility, slow processes in the company and little professional recognition of the employer by its employees. On the other hand, companies that encourage their employees to adopt a caring attitude towards each other see a clear improvement in their performance. Caring at work is more than just a comfortable break room or an annual lunch between employees. It is about building sincere human relationships between each member of a team by listening, caring and understanding each other in a real and mutual way. For example: an encouragement, a thank you or a smile, even masked! Everyone feels recognised and appreciated for their skills and commitment to the company.
Studies in sociology of work agree on one point: there is a correlation between benevolence at work and employee performance. The more secure, pleasant and flexible their working conditions are, the more committed they are to their tasks. Caring is a human attitude that can be improved and sustained, depending on the professional context, role and temperament of the individual. There is no miracle formula for cultivating caring at work, but several experiments carried out in different companies have produced enlightening results: creativity and autonomy boosted, team cohesion strengthened, employee loyalty… Discover our advice on how to establish lasting caring professional relationships between your employees.
How to improve benevolence at work?
Adopting a caring attitude at work requires first of all accepting the emotional sphere in the professional context. Benevolence at work is built on balanced and honest human relations, even in the case of disagreements or conflicts. The key to achieving this is the use of organised communication. By encouraging employees to really listen and share information regularly, the basis of caring relations are established. Knowing how to express one’s opinions clearly and, above all, how to listen to and understand those of others is one of the essential characteristics of a caring attitude at work. This active listening and mutual understanding strengthens team cohesion in the long term.
What do you need to cultivate benevolence?
It is illustrated by three concepts: encouragement, solidarity and mutual support. The tips below all apply to the same rule: respect for others, and are translated into showing respect and politeness towards each other.
- A rewarding and encouraging management.
By recognising the quality of the work carried out by employees, the manager values their skills and encourages their creativity. During a project with high stakes, it is up to the manager or leader to encourage his or her teams to establish a benevolent work dynamic: for example, to notice the results already obtained and to set, in the medium term, reasonably attainable objectives.
- Helping each other to resolve conflicts.
In a work team, disagreements are inevitable. Adopting a benevolent attitude towards others limits or even prevents these disagreements from turning into latent conflicts between two or more people. By encouraging team members to help each other regularly and spontaneously, the risk of conflict decreases. Employees know each other’s tasks better and understand the constraints of each job within the company.
Benevolence at work is cultivated on a daily basis, and actions in its favour are adapted to the situations the company is going through; for example, when there is a change of team or when there are changes in the organisation of work. Adopting a benevolent attitude requires the ability to consider others by taking into account their emotions, opinions, qualities and faults.