St. Joseph’s Health Centre Guelph launched the Be Kind initiative to foster joy, encourage civility, and build trust and inclusiveness in the workplace. We want our leadership, staff, physicians, and volunteers to experience a more joyful and mutually respectful workplace – a place where kindness is our culture.

People are our most valuable resource and we want them to be safe, be able to count on each other, and work collaboratively in the best interests of our clients and the community we serve. Healthcare workers routinely report higher rates of burnout, lower job satisfaction and worse morale than what is reported in other sectors.  At St. Joseph’s, we want to reduce incidents of staff workplace violence, improve peer-to-peer relationships, increase staff and organizational resiliency, and decrease turnover.

Joanne Alves and Taylor Pihura are co-leads of the Be Kind initiative

St. Joseph’s Be Kind initiative is a conscious effort to promote kindness as a way of living our values of compassion, accountability, respect and excellence in our day-to-day interactions with colleagues across the organization. The intent is that “kindness begets more kindness” and we can build on our culture of caring by fostering an environment of kindness.

We adapted this initiative from the highly successful “Be Kind” program at Niagara Health System and the team from NHS generously shared their time, expertise, and learnings with SJHCG. It is being co-lead by Joanne Alves, our Employee and Labour Relations Advisor, and Taylor Pihura, RPN.  Taylor received a Joy in Work fellowship from the RPNAO in support of Be Kind; this fellowship provides $5,000 in funding for the initiative.

We are embedding Be Kind in our internal communications and messaging, employee training and orientation, corporate and community events, and through activities such as a Random Acts of Kindness Challenge.

The Random Acts of Kindness Challenge invites teams across our organization to try to outdo one another in kindness by encouraging teams to complete 250 acts of kindness in a one-month period and to track their progress toward this goal. The Random Acts of Kindness don’t have to be complicated, expensive or time-consuming.  They can range from buying someone a coffee, to saying “thank you” and “good morning”, to congratulating a colleague on a job well done, and beyond. Once a team achieves the goal for the month, they receive a certificate of recognition that they can post as a reminder to continue spreading kindness.

The benefits of the St. Joseph’s Be Kind initiative will extend well beyond staff teams. Clients, their families, our partners and the broader community we serve will also reap the benefits of a culture of intentional kindness.