One of a kind.
Kindness has been the mot du jour since the outset of the global pandemic. The qualities of being friendly, generous and considerate have taken on heightened significance.
In an article in the New York Times, Frank M. Snowden, a professor emeritus of history and the history of medicine at Yale University observed, “Epidemics are a category of disease that seem to hold up the mirror to human beings as to who we really are...They show the moral relationships that we have toward each other as people”.
Acts of kindness continue to be celebrated around the world. In the UK, Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24th May) focused its message on the subject. And possibly the most high-profile display of appreciating kindness has been the weekly ritual of 'Clap for our Carers' that ended recently.
So, what relevance does this have for the world of work? For one industry sector, healthcare, kindness is its lifeblood. The clue is in the name. Admittedly, it’s not the
only profession that requires empathy and compassion. However, from our years of experience capturing insight and creating employment value propositions for global healthcare organisations, kindness provides a depth of purpose seldom rivalled in
Having an identifiable purpose that provides clarity of meaning, emotional connectivity and a reason to believe, is powerful. But that power can only really be harnessed by how the story is communicated. The problem is that too many companies in the sector tell it in exactly the same way. You only need to a quick trawl through some of the leading pharmaceutical companies and healthcare provider careers web sites to see this. Whether it’s through the eyes of the employee or the recipient of the care, making a difference, improving and saving lives is the repetitive narrative.
Now don’t get me wrong, the value of the work and the impact it has on people is essential and brilliant. The frustration I have is that in many cases, a lack of creativity for whatever reason (lack of insight, conservatism, globalised messaging) is limiting differentiation. We often see, even where there is a depth of employee research evidencing the importance of additional motivation factors to support and enhance the core purpose of kindness that these are overlooked by leadership obsessed with 'sticking to the knitting' of the overall mission. Learning from industry experts, career opportunities and in the current climate, simple hygiene factors of safety, security and well-being have the potential to elevate and enhance the proposition.
As a result, it comes as little surprise that the outcome is messaging where competitor logos are virtually interchangeable across images of doctors in white coats, smiling patients, people leading healthy lifestyles and the occasional teddy bear for good measure. Build depth and a range of messages that resonate with a mix of your target audiences. Capture insight, be bold, be creative.
If your proposition is founded on the purpose of being kind, isn’t it time to embrace storytelling to show how as an employer, you’re one of a kind?