The cost of kindness

By Beth Caron

“We are kind.”

That’s Great Clips’ #1 corporate value.  We believe that no matter how small the interaction, it should take place in the spirit of kindness. And we’re talking about kindness and courtesy to co-workers, not just customers.

Great Clips CEO Rhoda Olson says it again and again—and has for years—every interaction ripples down to the customer. That’s why it’s so important that every interaction be positive, even between those Great Clips corporate employees who only go to the salons for a haircut.

Well, it turns out that our philosophy has become “a thing” in the corporate world. No less than the Harvard Business Review, the New York Times and Forbes magazine have written recently about the value of kindness and civility in business. The atmosphere at some companies, it seems, is so lacking in common courtesy that people don’t even recognize when they’re being rude.

(Want to assess the civility of your workplace? Take the Times’ civility quiz.)

As I was browsing these articles, I had the feeling I’d heard these messages before. So I looked back through some of our leadership internal communications. I found these comments from an earlier post I wrote based on Rhoda’s belief in the power of kindness:

“Cultures don’t just materialize, at least the good ones don’t. They are carefully designed and nurtured, based on company values. You can’t have one (a positive culture) without the other (clearly articulated values). And having good values isn’t enough. They have to be clearly communicated, and then practiced.

Some might think that “We are kind” is too simple to be a business value, or that it doesn’t really pertain to co-workers or employees. Those people would be right and wrong—it is simple, and it does pertain to business. Acts of kindness or an all-too-uncommon courtesy—a “thank you” and a smile—pay off in increased trust, better relationships and higher customer satisfaction ratings.

And there’s data to support that. In my next blog, I’ll share some of the studies that provide a cost and benefit analysis of what happens when workers show good manners, and conversely, the true consequences of rudeness.

When have you experienced kindness—or rudeness—in a work situation or as a customer?

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