What would it be like if we went to work every day with a sense of passion? You know that intense feeling of emotion, the one that takes over without thought and the thing that propels you forward without effort. It fills you up and creates an enthusiasm for whatever you’re doing. We call passion in the workplace “work engagement” which is linked to employee satisfaction. People spend more time at work than with their families and doing the things they love. And yet, so many of us are just going through the motions at work and waiting for the day to end.

Gallup Research and The Conference Board have been monitoring employee satisfaction and engagement for many years and their research shows that “the decision to be engaged is made in worker’s feelings—not minds. We now know that feelings and emotions drive human behavior—what people care most about and commit themselves to in their lives. Consequently, how leaders and organizations make people feel in their jobs has the greatest impact on their performance by far.” A significant indicator of work engagement is the level an organization supports its employees. Research by G. Johns in the International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, found that positive organizational support has a number of positive consequences such as better job performance, satisfaction, commitment to the organization, positive mood at work, increased job involvement, reduced absenteeism and turnover, and reduced fatigue, anxiety and headaches. People want to be seen, to be heard, to feel like the organization cares about them. We’re talking real, deep and authentic interest. Enough to have your back when things get hot at work. Enough to treat people as human beings with feelings when economic conditions turn bad. And, enough to accommodate difficult times in people’s lives when the pressure gets turned up. What does this all amount to? Simply……. KINDNESS.

So what can be done? It involves all levels of the organization coming together to create ‘Kindness Commitments’. That’s right. Use the word ‘kindness’ in the workplace….it’s not a dirty word. The most extensive research ever done on cross-cultural leadership called The Globe Research Project, found that outstanding leadership is connected with demonstrating trustworthiness, a sense of justice, honesty, as well as encouraging, motivating, building confidence and being positive. Spend time talking about what motivates you and your team, and then create a way to help each other uphold it and be right rather than pointing out what’s wrong. It involves building confidence by digging deeper into underlying personal, team and organizational fears like the fear of failure, reprimand, not being able to see an idea come to life, liability, or fear of sufficient resources. Building trust requires the autonomy to give both voice and life to ideas, seeing failures as just a set-back and opportunity to learn. Building confidence can also happen by allowing people to own ideas from start to finish, while supporting leaders along the way.

Creating ‘Kindness Commitments’ is a process….not a one-time thing. They have to grow and be kept alive by displaying them for everyone to see, discussed regularly for continued understanding and embedded into HR practices to make them a living source. With time and continuous effort, kindness can even become a core value and part of your organizational culture, spreading it glorious impact into daily life, both at work and at home.