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NZ organisations should adopt a compassionate work index

Article by Make Lemonade NZ

Wellington – A leading New Zealand human resources expert Chris Till says New Zealand companies and organisations should adopt a United Kingdom compassionate work index model to improve working lives for Kiwis.

Till, the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand chief executive, says the compassionate index gets people to think what they are at work for, rather than just to make money. The index was created by the Roffey Park Institute which is internationally recognised for developing innovative learning approaches that enable people to achieve their full potential at work and in their wider lives.

“There is a lot more work to be done in terms of understanding compassion in the workplace and its related topic areas of self-compassion and organisational compassion,” Till says.

“At Roffey Park they have made a start that will help support those people in the workplace who are convinced that more caring, more generous and more compassionate organisations are not just a pipedream; that with hard work, a committed leadership and the generation of some internal corporate momentum around compassion we do indeed have the potential to make some big changes for the better.

“Roffey Park’s compassionate index approach recently featured in a magazine, Global Focus. The Roffey Park index tale was precise, concise, moving and thought provokingly new. It explained that, with compassion, leaders or managers are alive to the sufferings of others. They have the personal resilience to undertake a set of compassionate acts. Managers must not judge people and they should actually do something about the suffering of those others. So it is empathy with positive action.

“Research, very sadly, shows that our modern workplaces are often compassion free zones populated with people who are constantly on the verge of burn-out, where interpersonal relationships are fractious and stressful and where staff turnover is likely to be very high.

“However, not all is doom and gloom. Roffey Park has written extensively on this significant challenge and has developed the compassionate workplace index which looks across five key elements that comprise compassion in the workplace: Being alive to the suffering of others; being non-judgemental; tolerating personal distress; being empathic and taking appropriate action.

“Kiwis can fill out the index survey or read more about the research into the subject. There are significant business and other benefits of compassionate leadership.

“They include: Proven to benefit sufferers, clients, employees and the organisation; sustains the sufferer through the grieving process and facilitates recovery; improves employee engagement and retention; enables people to experience positive emotions which boosts productivity, lowers heart rate and blood pressure and strengthens the immune system and results in positive customer service.”

Till says HR Institute of NZ has been in extensive contact and conversations with Roffey Park. The institute will be working together with them to bring this into greater prominence and currency in New Zealand where, in our somewhat competitive and macho society, we think it would do much good.

For further information contact HR Institute of NZ chief executive Chris Till on 027 6377914 or Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275030188.

Photo: HRINZ chief executive Chris Till