The business case for compassion: Nando's, Cisco and Innocent Drinks

Consciously, systematically humane cultures reap enormous benefits, argues academic Amy Bradley.

by Amy Bradley

We live in an age where many people spend more time at work than they do with family members and yet work feels increasingly transactional and dehumanised. We have become so reliant on technology as a means of communication, the human moment at work is becoming lost. No wonder so many people feel disengaged and isolated and have no one to talk to about the things that worry them.

That said, when companies are consciously compassionate, placing their people firmly at their heart, they report superior financial performance, higher staff engagement, increased innovation and higher levels of customer advocacy. It is forward-thinking workplaces, such as Innocent Drinks, Cisco Systems and Nando’s who have had the foresight and courage to embed compassion who are now reaping its benefits.

In consciously compassionate companies, it is hardwired into corporate values and behaviours; there are systems and practices in place to ensure it is rooted within the culture; and approaches to recruitment, development and reward reflect genuine care for people. Take the example of Innocent Drinks, the smoothie and fruit drinks company. Their aptly named Fruit Towers headquarters building in London is designed around communal spaces, which helps to foster a strong sense of community. At its centre is a shared kitchen, which employees use daily to meet and eat together, so relationships across the business are nurtured. 

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