Susan & Renée
How Can A Chocolate Cake Inspire You At Work?
It feels a little bit like a children’s book. A magical chocolate cake recipe handed down by a wonderful mother goes on to travel around the world bringing joy and connection to many people.
You can just imagine the illustration. A chocolate bundt shaped cake with little arms and legs sticking out with a wry smile on the side of the cake.
Well it's not too far from the truth. In my family (this is Susan talking), the chocolate bundt cake is legendary. It is my husband’s favorite, a necessity at every birthday. He insists that we call it Dad’s cake. It is the thing that I am always requested to bring to any event. And then at some point, I got the idea that it could travel.
So where has it gone?
To boot camp
To colleges across the US
To a European arts conservatory
To warzones for friends and family who were deployed
It was the groom’s cake at my son’s wedding
And lately it has been the delectable darling of a firehouse
When I first made it did I expect this?
No, It was just a cake.
Now it is family lore because of the good will and memories that have been built. It also created a community of people who want to share their bundt cake stories with each other.
This is an example of the unintended consequences of kindness. And while we often think of acts of kindness as things we do in our personal lives, the benefits of kindness can permeate the work environment as well. Research shows that being kind in the workplace:
Increases employee satisfaction
Improves physical health
Increases communication and engagement
So while you may not have my mother’s cake recipe, you can interject some sweetness into your work day by:
Greeting people with a smile: A typical adult only smiles 20 times a day, compared to children who smile an average of 400 times a day. Smiling can boost mood, reduce blood pressure, increase endurance, reduce pain and lower stress. And it is contagious!
Encourage employee recognition: We are not just talking about the “employee of the month” type of nod, but everyday acts that help produce an environment of care and consideration. Recognition can be anything from thanking a fellow employee for a job well done to planning a team dinner.
Treat employees the way you would want to be treated: Ahh…that age old golden rule is also important to apply to business. We all have lives outside of work. When people are treated in a way that makes them feel like this is taken into account, it builds a greater sense of community which leads to greater productivity. This can be as simple as checking in with employees when they come back from vacation to establishing hybrid work policies.
We leave you with the magical bundt cake challenge:
What are you going to do at work today that will make someone feel like they just ate a piece of delicious chocolate cake?