What happened to compassion in the workplace?

This week my thoughts have turned to compassion at work. Where has it gone? In today's throwaway society, where it is cheaper to replace rather than repair, this approach appears to have transferred to people, particularly in a working environment. There clearly is compassion in the world, demonstrated by the amount of money that is raised for sick children, or for situations like the tsunami of several years ago. So why is it that this compassion doesn't come so easily in the workplace? This week's blog demonstrates how showing a bit of compassion for employees and colleagues at work can yield real benefits to both parties, as well as increasing loyalty and goodwill towards the Company and the managers and directors involved. We could tell you lots of stories about where compassion hasn't been shown, but I prefer to think of the good examples while we are celebrating our 21st birthday, rather than the bad!

One thing that hasn't changed since I set up CHaRM is that most of our conversations with clients start with "I want to sack someone". The other thing that hasn't changed is our ability to move directors and managers away from dismissal as a starting point, which I am proud of. What has changed however is that it has become harder to move people away from wanting to dismiss as a starting a point. In our 'throwaway' society, companies seem to think it is easier to replace people than repair the problem or the relationship, but with the new world of immigration caps and skills shortages, which will get worse post Brexit, it is going to become more difficult to replace.

One of our clients has an employee who developed an addiction. This caused problems at work in terms of both attendance and behaviour. The (allegedly) easy solution would have been to terminate the individual's employment and replace with someone new (if they could find someone with the right skills). The Company decided however to work with the individual to try and deal with the addiction, and in doing so recognised the investment they had already made in this employee in terms of product knowledge and skills. They also recognised the value to the organisation of that particular individual prior to the addiction issue arising. With guidance from the team here at CHaRM, and using Occupational Health support, the Company supported the individual during a period of absence, followed by a period of rehabilitation back into the business. This involved making some temporary changes in the workflow and pattern. That was some months ago now and the employee is back at work, fully functioning and effective. The addiction will always be there in the background, but now everyone understands it and knows how to deal with it should it ever re-occur. That is what I would call a win/win situation - worth investing the time and effort to achieve - for all involved. In achieving that win/win situation, the Directors and Managers in that organisation showed real human compassion.

That's what makes our job worth getting out of bed for in the morning. Happy Easter everyone.