April 10, 2011 | Posted in: Leading Hartfully

You know the old Zig Ziglar quote about people not caring how much you know until they know how much you care. Taking that to heart in the workplace can pay dividends on many levels.  While most people join organizations because of the general workplace, many leave because of co-workers. Our teams can be technically proficient but socially deficient, and that can cause more than just friction. It creates a workplace of chaos rather than calm.

Below are 10 tips to create a culture of caring and form a workplace by design and not default by focusing on the people before the productivity. These are gleaned from over 25 years of working with corporations, private companies and public agencies around the world.

1. Show your concern and notice when team members aren’t their normal selves. Take note if they’ve been out of sorts, or doing above and beyond and anything out of the ordinary. When we know others notice what we do and who we are, it makes a difference in the trust, loyalty and commitment.

2. Send Thank You notes, birthday cards, and anniversary cards for time at your organization. Dropping a card on their desk is nice; sending one to their home is even more special. It says you took the time to say something personal. They mattered to you to spend some extra time on them. Appreciation and acknowledgement wins over self-promotion every single time. Communicate that you care about the whole person, not just what they contribute as part of their job duties.

3.  Send a card home addressed to their family member or partner explaining what a great job they’re doing, how they are an appreciated team member. Perhaps thanking the family for the overtime that was worked since when the family member is at work, they are not with their family.

4.  Some organizations offer perks such as free lunches, boxed dinner options to pick up before leaving work, dry cleaner pick-up, car detailing service, seated massages, Fed-ex pick up at work, or social clubs and activities such as a band, softball league or other hobby and interest groups.

5. Offer some volunteer days to help build goodwill in the community as well as camaraderie among your ranks. Host a day of service for a local charity, building a home for the needy, cleaning up the community, and reading to the elderly or the young. Provide a list of different ways to volunteer during the year or have each department choose to champion a charity.

6. Ask each team member what they want out of the relationship with their job and the people in it. This will give you a clue as to how you can best serve them and help them get what they want out of their job and improve their quality of life.

7. Offer a little extra time off during the holidays – even 59 minutes early to take care of life and the stresses that come about during the holidays. Depending upon your organization, some offer holiday parties, bonuses or other acknowledgement for a good year of business.

8. Offer to cook breakfast or buy lunch for your team to celebrate milestones and share appreciation. Supervisors do the cooking or host a pot-luck to share different types of food.  Some organizations have hosted car washes for supervisors to wash the cars of those who made a significant contribution, hit sales goals or achieved a milestone of success. Depending on the size of your group, invite them to your home for dinner or take them out for dinner or an event.

9. During the gardening season, ask team members to bring in their extra veggies and fruits to make a community salad or have a grab bag of fresh food to share the extra harvest bounty with those who don’t have a garden.

10. Start your meetings with some good news from participants to set the tone. Bring some surprises to some meetings to shake things up and make it more interesting.

11. Over-deliver and pay attention to the needs of your team. Make as big a deal when a new member arrives as when they leave the organization. Go out of your way to show them around and introduce them and ensure they have what they need to do their best. Serve them well and they will serve the organization well.

Creating a culture of calm and caring can be accomplished in hundreds of little ways to show you care. In this time of budget constraints, many of the things you can do won’t cost you much at all. With an authentic attitude of concern and caring, you can do wonders to create a great culture in your workplace.

As the CEO (Chief Energizing Officer) at Hartful Living including GaiaHart.com and BizBuilderCards.com; I’m a Messenger and Mentor for women entrepreneurs, connecting them to their capacity to energize their work and their lives in the art of living Hartfully. At BizBuilderCards.com, you can make a living through giving with greeting cards and gifts to build your network net worth as an additive to your current business or an easy way to send gratitude and kindness to the world.