#HRActsofKindness Bringing Joy to Work!

‘The way you see someone affects the way you serve them. The way you serve someone affects the way they see you. Kindness is first seen, then expressed’

Joy Marsden – Keep Stepping

I simply adore this quote from Joy and she has certainly been a strong influence in my mind set since I met her in October at MAP, I’m hoping to continue to use that mind set as I progress through the remainder of 2016 into 2017 and beyond!

We are all aware that the world could do with a lot more kindness right now and with the season of goodwill quickly approaching, now is the perfect time to make a small change in your life to make a big impact on someone else’s.

Some of you are creating giving advent boxes for your local communities, some are passing out compliments, others are some are donating clothes to homeless shelters, arranging Christmas parties, some of you are donating money to charities rather than sending Christmas cards; the kindness just keeps on going!

The idea may be simple but it is effective and I would urge as many of you to get involved and make the end of 2016 memorable for all the right reasons!

#HRActsofKindness Champions!

What a journey it has been so far, you are all incredible!

Just a quick note to thank all of you in taking part and spreading some kindness in your workplaces and businesses.

Congratulations to David Hawthorne, Janet Webb and Tom Robinson for being crowned the first kindness champions, there are more to come and do keep an eye out for those little gifts I have sent!

Tomorrow is 1st December and I hope you’re all getting ready to prepare your advent boxes as well as opening those calendars! You’re really going to make someone’s Christmas wish come true.

Coming up are some more thoughts on kindness from our HR professionals so do keep an eye out for that later on today and throughout the lead up to Christmas.

Have a wonderful day and keep passing the kindness on!

#HRActsofKindness Outside of the HR world


HR acts of kindness is not just for HR professionals, it is for everyone! I have asked different people from different backgrounds about what is means to them, in this short post, I spoke to Victoria Tretis from My Virtual Assistant Rocks and Sara Tomlin, full time teacher, part time child photographer for her business Urbairns Child Photography.

The thought process around this is to establish how HR can support different areas for the future and for good reason; how can we support the departments and colleagues around us and secondly to establish the expectations of future talent and generations allowing us to be more proactive rather than reactive to our environments.


“The saying that’s served me best in my entire career and personal life is: ‘kindness is how you treat others who can do nothing for you’. I encourage everyone to consider how they can be generous, either time or money, and #payitforward. That could be a postcard to an old friend or perhaps buying coffee for the person behind you in the coffee queue. Whatever you choose to do, the ripple effect of kindness will begin.”

My Virtual Assistant Rocks @myva_rocks on Twitter


“My personal mantra is ‘Work Hard and Be Kind’. As a teacher of young children I am always mindful to be kind and respectful to children. This not only helps them to feel valued but also models the behaviour we expect to see from them. Increasingly I see this behaviour is not being modelled outside of school so my role is vital in helping children to see the value of being kind.”

Urbairns Photography @urbairns on Twitter

#HRActsofKindness David D’Souza; “Kindness is not a word we normally use…”

Over the past few days I have asked many different people what kindness means to them and how it can be applied during their work lives.

The first person I asked was David D’Souza on his thoughts on kindness at work;

“When people ask me about the most important traits in someone I’d like to work with integrity, intelligence and a desire to be helpful normally top the bill. Kindness isn’t a word I’d normally use – but maybe it should because organisations would rarely be worse off for an extra dose of it.

The average person works more hours than they’d ideally like – or, if unemployed, would like the opportunity to work more hours than they would ideally like. We live in a tough old world and there are certain things that always make it more palatable. Kindness – without expectation of reward – is a beautiful and scarce resource. It helps us not just get along but helps getting along to be worthwhile.

So if you can just be kinder. The cost may be minimal or the cost may be great – but the payback is a reward not measured in pounds and pence but in a life worth slightly more worth living. And that is priceless”.


#HRActsofKindness pushing the boundaries and what it means to me

At the recent CIPD ACE event, Peter Cheese highlighted that HR needs to think outside of the box by being adaptable to the ever changing environment and look beyond our organisations.

The conference was not just made up of HR professionals, there were teachers, coaches, volunteers and recruiters to name but a few and the same can be said for the Midland Area Partnership event in October. HR has become a focus point and whether we like it or not, the expectations upon us are far greater than we are possibly used to so it is up to us to raise the bar and get involved in areas that sit outside of our comfort zones.

HR Acts of Kindness is designed for us to push those boundaries and look at the bigger picture by taking smaller steps into the areas away from the security blankets known as our offices; the everyday activities and endless distractions. By taking ourselves back to our child-like ways and doing things we may not necessarily practice on a daily basis.

I don’t know about you, but for those who attended CIPD ACE 16, did you grab a selfie at the CIPD stand? As my selfie was being taken, the gentleman asked me who admire the most in business and what my superpower would be and as you can imagine I gave a typical HR answer of “I’d make change management in organisations instantaneous!”. Fantastic and definitely a vision from the dream world I’m sure you’ll agree, but upon reflection, I wouldn’t change the profession, not one part of it right now and the simple reason is that I am enjoying the journey. All of those people at the annual CIPD event and those sat reading this at your desks right now; we’re all on a journey and busy shaping not only the future of HR but shaping the future of work as a whole. The journey is where we learn, develop and grow but it’s also where we gain a sense of achievement and appreciation for the work that we do.

On a personal level; my great grandmother, gave me a strong piece of advice at a young age which carries me through every area of my life. She told me to “always do something you are good at” at the time I don’t think I really understood in all honesty but now it makes perfect sense. HR Acts of Kindness is a product of exactly that; I am kind to people, even when they are not to me, I always believe in second chances and I believe in supporting others not treading on them in order to be successful. All I wanted when I originally signed up for my HR career was to make my family proud and the profession proud, that’s the simple and only reason I do what I do when I get up at 5:30am every morning.

Over the coming days I will be bringing snippets from different people and what kindness means to them and the difference they think it brings. There are people from the HR profession, small business owners, teachers, and students alike so watch this space!

I consider myself incredibly fortunate that I can share HR Acts of Kindness, it’s amazing how many of you around the world are involved and promoting kindness in your organisations. Thank you for all of your messages telling me your stories, keep them coming and I’m really looking forward to crowning some kindness champions.

Your #HRActsofKindness Challenge List


Welcome to our very festive #HRActsofKindness challenge. Our last chance to spread a bit of happiness throughout our workplaces and communities in 2016, so let’s get going!

You don’t have to spend anything and you don’t have to be in HR to take part. Most of the challenges cost nothing so it’s easy for everyone to be involved. Ask your teams, colleagues, friends and family to get involved, the more people spreading kindness the better.

Throughout the next few weeks I’ll look forward to hearing your stories and will pick one each week to be highlighted as a “Kindness Champion” and I will send you a gift; besides it’s nice to keep the kindness going! Email your stories to Natalieellis084@gmail.com

Christmas can be a challenging time of the year for many so by being present and taking a small amount of time can make a big difference.

Make the challenges relevant to you; if you are passionate about it then you’re more likely to enjoy it!

What does kindness look like at your workplace and in the community?

Here is your challenge list:

  1. Host a mince pie and coffee morning at your workplace or local nursing home for the  elderly community – combating elderly loneliness at Christmas is difficult so by rallying your teams and working together as a company to host something like this can work really well. It benefits the elderly people by providing company and as most of us are HR professionals, we’re known for our listening skills. It’s also something that can project a positive community impact upon the business.
  2. Boost employee morale by getting a local school choir to sing carols at your workplace! This sounds bizarre but I remember at a previous employer, we had this and we all sang together, had hot chocolate and in return gave the school children insight into our business and offered work experience placements. It worked really well and there wasn’t one person who left work that day without a smile on their face!
  3. Utilise your resources! Promote your employee assistance programme or support line. It may sound simple but unless it’s under people’s noses they don’t generally know it’s there. When I worked in transport the EAP line was used most between December and January, more people need support than you think so by providing that service can mean a lot to come people.
  4. Hold a shoebox appeal. You can do this for children living in shelters, in foster care or those who have fallen on hard times. My colleagues at Forterra are currently putting together donations for the local homeless Hope Centre in Northampton.
  5. Hold a charity bake sale, invite colleagues, customers and suppliers, bring people together and raise money for a charity of your choice.
  6. Prepare someone to take that leap of faith with a “New Year, New Job” aim. Ask if you can help with smartening up their CV, interview techniques and adapting their job search so they target the right employer. Sometimes all it takes is 10 minutes to help someone land that dream job, so why not utilise your existing skills?
  7. Gather donations for the local children’s hospital ward – put a smile on a child’s face this Christmas and buy an extra toy to donate to the local hospital.
  8. Arrange a Christmas themed lunch at work, if you can’t do a full on roast, why not book a table at a local restaurant or even order in a pizza! It’s great to get away from the desk and spread the kindness by spending just that little bit of time getting to know your colleagues, after all they are our extended family
  9. Don’t forget those who got you where you are now when writing out those cards! I’m sending  cards to my tutors, former managers, colleagues and those who have supported me in my career. Without them, I wouldn’t be here so once a year is not a lot to highlight why they’re important to me.
  10. McDonalds Christmas cups! Random I know but how many times do we get McDonalds breakfast on a Friday morning? Come on… be honest! Order a coffee and on the side you’ll see a bean sticker, collect the stickers to make free coffee tokens. I save these up and give them to those sleeping rough on the streets when I see them. Drinking coffee is good but being kind makes the coffee even better.

So there you have it, your ten kindness challenges! This list is not extensive, if you want to do an act in your own way please do share it with me, thinking outside the box is never a bad thing plus you may pass on the kindness and inspire someone else.


#HRActsofKindness is back!


In June this year I launched a small idea called “HR Acts of Kindness” after witnessing the impact of the brexit result. The result not only divided opinion but also divided relationships and had a big impact on the way organisations conducted business.

I remember driving home after seeing the impact it had on my work environment and thinking that there must be a way to turn this divide into a positive and to unite people again and that’s when HR Acts of Kindness was born; in the driving seat of my Mini Cooper!

Little did I know the overwhelming response I would receive to those 5 challenges!

Due to the support and people asking me to bring it back; I wanted to re-launch HR Acts of Kindness with a festive twist in hope to keep the kindness going. You don’t have to be in HR, you just need to have a desire to make a difference. Thank you to all of you who have messaged me, told me your stories and encouraged the success of this small idea that escalated rather quickly!

Christmas can be a difficult time of the year for so many people and I’m asking the HR community to help me kick start a kindness movement which will help those who need it most at this time of year.

At the Annual Conference and Exhibition, Peter Cheese spoke of how HR needs to adapt and be relevant to the needs of not only businesses but our communities and by us working collaboratively we can inspire the future of our profession. By launching HR Acts of Kindness, I believe this provides the perfect opportunity for us to make that impact and not to let what we learnt at ACE become a distant memory as we return to our day jobs.

I gave an interview to Ady Howes at DPG during the CIPD ACE 16 event and if you’d like to see it, I have put the You Tube link here: https://youtu.be/cmeotrPzTS8

Unlike the original HR Acts of Kindness, this time around, I am providing a full list of challenges tomorrow morning which will run from now until Christmas and it covers a whole list of different ways we can utilise our skills to support our work environment, employees, families and communities.

What I’d like to do is to get as many people involved and I want to hear your stories, pictures and anything else you’d like to share with me as you undertake one or more of these challenges.

Most of the challenges are free and there’s bound to be something for everyone to get involved with. Get your teams, departments and anyone else you can think of involved, we need as may people as possible to spread the kindness and reach as many people as we can.

As a thank you; when I receive your stories and pictures I have a special gift to send you so make sure you get those success stories in. After all, it’s nice to say thank you for taking part.

Together we can make our communities a better place; one small act of kindness at a time.