Care. It’s a very small word with a very big meaning. Meanings that are personal, varied, and open to interpretation. How we all experience and demonstrate care is also highly individual, nuanced, and delicate. I consider myself very lucky to have had a fantastic family, great friends, and a loving husband who have all cared for me throughout my life, sometimes during fun, easy times, and others that were much harder. It has also been a privilege to have had colleagues and leaders who have cared for me -both as a professional and an individual. Their care, consideration, and passion have left a lasting impact on me and have also facilitated the development of my career. It’s a well worn but perfect phrase - I wouldn’t be where I am today without them (or the care they have shown).
The contribution that care makes to building resilient and fun cultures can’t be underestimated. However, its role in the workplace can fall by the wayside - it might feel at odds with corporate values or lost in the busy day-to-day. This is changing as huge societal shifts play out in the workplace when it comes to how we all consider and protect our own mental health and that of others. Simultaneously, the role of employers is evolving, albeit some faster than others, to take an increasingly paternal role. Caring for employees is now a central role of business.
Bringing care to the workplace
For me as a friend, partner, parent, leader, manager, and mentor, caring has always been a focus. But I haven’t always found it easy to bring the care I show to family and friends to work too. It was a more emotional part of me that, at times, I lacked the confidence to bring to work. It’s a relief that those times are long gone! As a leader at an agency, it’s a value that drives me every day. I firmly believe that you get out of life what you put in and for me that applies to caring for the amazing team we have too.
Attracting and retaining great people
Great people are central to every business or in-house team across PR and marketing. Great people bring great ideas, diligence, and creativity as well as nurture great client or internal relationships. Being active in how we care for these people is something I view as central to driving a successful culture that I want to be a part of. Demonstrating care every day and holding it close as a core value means we will always help our people to nurture, develop, and grow. Whether they stay with us and help us to thrive or move on to greater things, I hope that they have all been touched by a sense of care and appreciate how they also play a crucial role to care for those around them at work.
It’s not just our colleagues that need and deserve our care and attention. Our industry is a well-networked one, and extending how we care into our relationships across the industry is important too. These relationships help us all to learn, develop, and experience things outside of our own worlds. I’m always so impressed by how the people in our industry care for each other, put time into building great networks, and leverage them for the benefit of others. It all contributes to building an industry I’m proud to be a part of.
Showing you care
Caring for others isn’t always easy. It’s not just about the good times, the successes, and the celebrations. It’s also about making tough decisions, it’s giving difficult feedback in the moment and being honest. We have to actively build a culture of caring in our businesses and teams - where the big and the small elements of care are given space, recognition, and time to flourish. For me, care is also about reciprocity - recognising when you have been cared for, and stepping up to the plate when it’s your time to care in return. But for today, a small question to finish: how are you going to show somebody that you care?
Written by Katie Spreadbury, managing director of PR firm Vested UK
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