Imagine a workplace where employees are encouraged to freely share their knowledge, resources, and time with others without fear of being taken advantage of. A workplace where company culture is based on collaboration, trust, and generosity, rather than beating others to the winning line.
It’s a workplace that’s entirely possible if we start embracing the givers in our company.
In fact, research shows that fostering a culture of giving in the workplace can lead to greater productivity, job satisfaction, and overall success for the organization. However, many companies still operate under the assumption that the most successful employees are the ones who prioritize their own interests over the interests of others.
This article will explore the psychology of givers and takers in the workplace, the impact of their behavior on company culture, and practical ways companies can create a culture that embraces givers.
Why is a culture of giving beneficial to companies?
At first glance, the definition seems simple enough: givers are those who ask, “What can I do for you?” Takers are those who say, “What can you do for me?” And there’s the middle ground, the area Adam Grant calls matches, those with more of a quid pro quo, give-and-take attitude.
Now givers can come in various shapes, supporting those around them in different ways. According to the Huffpost, givers can be split into a few key groups:
- Experts who share knowledge and help others find answers.
- Coaches who teach skills and help people find their potential.
- Mentors who give advice and guidance and simplify others’ paths to success.
- Connectors who introduce people where meetings can bring about greatness.
- Extra-milers who always put in the extra effort or time, for the business or their peers.
- Helpers who supply the hands-on project and emotional support that make things easier.
You can understand why it’s so easy for givers to burn out. Because with each action, givers invest themselves in someone else’s success. The thing is, givers far too often sacrifice their own productivity to help others.
But as Adam Grant points out, it’s these people who make organizations better. So while the support these people give is invaluable, a company cannot thrive when its successes come at the cost of valuable team members’ sacrifices.
According to Adam Grant’s research, whether it was in engineering, medicine, or sales, the givers were always proven to be both the least and most productive. And their ability to perform is largely dependent on the environment they work in and how others approach givers.
What he also found was that companies with a more compassionate culture, where giving behavior is endorsed, perform better on all measurable metrics, from higher profits to improved customer satisfaction to increased employee retention.
Who wouldn’t want that?
So the question is, how do you create a culture where givers can thrive and avoid being burnt out?
Creating a giver-friendly culture
Selfless givers’ concern for others often leaves their own interests behind. And without the necessary boundaries, they ignore their own needs, burn out and, sadly enough, can’t help others as effectively anymore. This is what’s called generosity burnout, something that selfless givers are extremely vulnerable to.
But there are ways to avoid generosity burnout happening to your givers.
These are the steps companies should take to create a culture where that doesn’t happen.
People don’t like asking for help. Whether we feel incompetent or don’t want to be a burden, it’s just easier to go it alone. But the act of giving is most often prompted by a request. That means that your givers are often lying -dormant waiting to help. So if your culture promotes the act of admitting defeat and saying “I just don’t know”, then your givers will get to thrive naturally.
Let the right ones in, keep the wrong ones out
Weeding out negativity isn’t an easy task. But at the end of the day, you don’t want takers on your team. Givers, sure thing. They’re the key to a better culture and improved operations. Matchers, yes, please. They adapt to the environment, and if it’s a positive one, that’s where they’re heading. But it’s important to hire right to enable this.
Make it okay to say “no”
Givers need boundaries too. But it’s far more difficult for a giver to stick to those boundaries if the barriers make them feel they aren’t helping others anymore. So it’s important to find sustainable ways for them to offer support.
One of the best ways to allow givers to say “no” is to encourage them to connect people instead. Word of Adam Rifkin’s generosity spread following the success of a number of startups he played a vital role in establishing. And soon the entrepreneur received more and more requests for advice. To protect his time, instead of helping them, he connected them with the people who could help, limiting these connections to three per day.
Taking a stand as a giver
The responsibility of a better giver culture doesn’t only fall on the company’s shoulders. Givers need to learn to become Self-Protective givers to save themselves from generosity burnout as well.
And these steps are where you begin:
Give with meaning
Make your help unique and meaningful by giving the support that only you can give. Find ways to give in ways that only you can. Carve out a niche for yourself to ensure people come to you for specific support, not with every challenge they face.
Be proactive in helping others instead of reactive. You can even consider giving advice and guidance according to a schedule. Just like Adam Rifkin, helping proactively will help you protect your time and give within your own parameters.
Embrace the 5-minute favor
Find small ways to offer big value. Whether you’re giving feedback, sharing knowledge, or identifying someone’s work that’s gone unacknowledged, giving comes in many shapes and doesn’t have to be laborious, all-or-nothing tasks.
Putting people first, the way it should be
At Ingredient Brothers, we’ve learned to embrace the spirit of givers through the culture of Ubuntu, the Xhosa philosophy that translates to “I am because we are”.
It’s a philosophy that’s been at the heart of Ingredient Brothers since its inception. Because we’ve seen it countless times, that the success of others is our own success.
Adam Grant points out that the best way to succeed is to help others succeed. And that’s precisely why we founded Ingredient Brothers. It was that giving spirit, the spirit of Ubuntu, that was lacking in the food industry.
That’s why we’re committed to people and what we can give back to the journey through a service-centric business approach.
So make sure you give the givers in your business the environment to shine. If you’re curious to learn more about our approach and how it can benefit your brand, reach out to us for a conversation. And while you’re here, take a moment to explore our catalog, showcasing a diverse range of ingredients ready to elevate your creations.