Which kind of company would you rather work at: one where giving is viewed as a strength, or as a weakness?
It’s an easy call, and as a manager, you have more say in the matter than you might think. That’s because research shows there are steps anyone can take to foster an environment where generosity is a valued part of the culture—not just because it’s nice, but because it fuels performance and productivity.
When you take these steps, you’ll find your teams are more cohesive and happier. And since giving has even been shown to expand our sense of time, your direct reports will be better equipped to meet deadlines and expectations. And you don’t need a study to confirm that a workplace where generosity is valued is going to be more pleasant and conducive to quality work.
By nudging your team in the direction of more giving—and by extension, more purpose—you also have an opportunity to be ahead of the curve in a big picture sense. Companies and business leaders around the world are having an important conversation now about the role of purpose in business, and consumers and employees alike are insisting that companies pursue purpose as well as profit.
Being part of this conversation, and taking action by building a giving culture, will differentiate your company and help you attract and retain top talent. Here are three ways you can get started:
1. Make giving part of your vocabulary
In your one-on-one meetings with your employees, make a point to ask your direct reports how you can give them what they need to succeed. Asking “how can I help”—rather than framing it as “what can you give me?”—is a subtle but effective way to show your support.
2. Give back to your community
Your company isn’t an island; it’s part of a larger community. Encourage your team to find ways to give back—by volunteering, supporting local schools, or some other way that resonates with them. If your company doesn’t have a giving program, consider starting one—or organizing a group volunteer outing—and open it up to your team for ideas.
3. Buy lunch for your team members
Every month, take the opportunity to come together with your team members over a meal. Whether in or out of the office, it’ll strengthen relationships and build a sense of mission—in addition to providing a well-deserved break from deadlines and devices. When your direct reports know you value their contributions and company, they’ll pay it forward.