Getting money is not all a man's business: to cultivate kindness is a valuable part of the business of life. – Samuel Johnson
For whatever reason, at least in the working world, does it seem like the word “nice” has disappeared from the dictionary of business terms? It is almost as if “nice” has become synonymous with weak or indecisive.
NEWS FLASH: [Tweet “You can be nice and still be strong. You can be nice and be a leader. You can be nice and be successful.”]
I would not be where I am today if I had been selfish, mean, and hard. I strongly believe that kindness and empathy are what make great companies stand out from the crowd. Being able to do what you do well AND do it with compassion and personality, that is what I call success.
So what is the value of “nice” in business? Is there a “Return on Investment” (ROI) in being nice? Clearly, people's opinions differ on this topic, but I believe that it is a huge asset for businesses. There are many ways to define success: the accomplishment of one's goals, increased productivity, performance, quality, revenues, as well as subjective success such as happiness and the feeling of making a real connection with other people.
Encouraging a positive environment in the workplace can lead to several benefits like: recruiting top talent (when facing multiple job offers, a person often chooses a company based on the “overall feel”), increased productivity (when a worker is placed in a positive environment they are more inclined to work hard), reduced costs (this goes hand in hand with increased productivity), and positive public image (what your employees, fans, and followers say about you over the Internet can make or break a business).[Tweet “A little nice goes a long way, especially in social media.”]
Social media bolsters brand value in a big way. When the reputation of your business has a lot to do with what people are saying about you online, it pays to have an online presence where you are known for being a “nice” company.
A good example of a company that takes advantage of being nice on social media is Comcast. Comcast is the largest cable operator, one of the biggest mass media, home Internet service providers, and the third largest home telephone service providers in the United States. One way they are “nice” is they have multiple employees with Twitter accounts that help Comcast users in need. Comcast has really gone above and beyond to show that they care by offering exceptional customer service extending all of the way to monitoring problems on Twitter. Even if @Comcast hasn't been directly mentioned, they are likely to find Tweets complaining of their services and offer their help.
What is your opinion on the value of being “nice” in business? Does it get you far? Or, do you believe that the nice guy really does finish last? Give your input in the comments below!