Earlier this month, Rosslyn BID President Mary-Claire Burick had the opportunity to chat with Tamika Tremaglio, Deloitte LLP’s Greater Washington managing principal. What brought the two together? The business of kindness, and the Rosslyn BID joining Deloitte to spread the word about this great movement.
On June 15, Rosslyn Cinema will feature the movie "Wonder," a film that helps reflect the kindness goals in Deloitte’s Greater Washington offices. Deloitte is proud to sponsor this event as a way to further promote the importance of corporate kindness while bringing together people who live and work in the greater-Rosslyn area.
Mary-Claire Burick: Let’s start with the basics. So tell me, what is the business of kindness? One may not initially associate terms like kindness with business.
Tamika Tremaglio: In November, Deloitte joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation for a forum that focused on the importance of kindness in the workplace, and why that makes good business sense. At its foundation, the business of kindness is the idea that the well-being of our people, and ultimately our communities, is directly linked to the well-being of our business.
This initiative is being championed by leading organizations in multiple industries, from hospitality and consumer products, to technology and financial services. We are working to highlight the importance of creating a workplace culture grounded in respect, compassion and kindness as a way to help employees thrive.
MB: Deloitte is at the forefront, in terms of embracing this particular and innovative campaign around the business of kindness. This is in large part due to your thoughtful approach to leadership. How do you translate this to something real at Deloitte?
TT: We launched this campaign in Greater Washington to promote the business of kindness in our offices, with our clients, and out in the community. It is part of our focus on our core values of commitment to each other and strength from diversity and inclusion.
At Deloitte, our employees are encouraged to bring their most authentic selves to work, to promote trust and engagement, and to have the freedom to fail fast and learn from those mistakes. A culture of kindness is the precursor to all of this.
We are also helping our people feel good about their work and the contributions that they are making to society as a whole. This is really important to a person on an individual level.
MB: That’s wonderful. I know from my work with business engagement, and as a change leadership professional, that it isn’t always easy to implement these types of programs. Could you elaborate a little more on how Deloitte embraces the business of kindness both strategically and day-to-day (with a regional employee base of 12,000, I might add)? Are there any examples you can share with the Rosslyn community and fellow businesses?
TT: Of course, I would love to and that is a great question. We emphasize three main pillars within this campaign:
The first pillar focuses on how we treat each other on our teams and in our local offices. This includes employee engagement, recognition initiatives, and trainings. Research shows consistently that it’s the simple things that mean so much, just a word of gratitude. Because of that we launched an internal “Thank You” writing campaign to help staff recognize team members for their work and commitment to their teams.
The second pillar involves community engagement and giving back. We want to amplify this message of kindness in the larger community, as well as put it into practice.
We have a robust corporate volunteer culture. Specifically, we have worked with local schools and not-for-profit organizations that work to combat bullying and isolation in schools and promote inclusion and dignity throughout the community.
One example of this is our Adopt-a-School program with McKinley Technology High School in D.C. We developed a Kindness Campaign at the school to support their efforts in promoting acceptance across their school community. It included a Day of Encouragement for students, and No Name Calling Week. We also participated in a ‘Girl Boss Week’ panel to help female students envision being future leaders. Our focus there was on how leaders can be decisive and strategic, but at the same time respectful, authentic, and most of all kind.
The third pillar looks at being an industry leader. This focuses on how we can share our journey with other organizations to encourage them to adopt a similarly inclusive mindset and practices in an attempt to shift the broader culture of the industry.
For example, and I talked about this a little earlier, we joined the U.S. Chamber Foundation to produce a regional kindness forum last fall. Multiple sectors came together for that forum to discuss the challenges and opportunities when promoting the business of kindness in workplaces.
MB: I want to jump back to your second pillar of engaging the community. Is this what prompted you to think about bringing the movie "Wonder" to Rosslyn Cinema on June 15? We are thrilled to build more momentum and energy around the business of kindness movement!
TT: It is! We are always looking for creative ways to share the message about the business of kindness and ways to engage with our local community. Inclusivity is a key part of who we are at Deloitte, and is a main message in this movie as well, so it really is a great way for us to help spread the message within the Rosslyn community.
We believe the message of this movie is impactful whether you’re a child in school, a parent working at Deloitte, or just a community member looking for a little kindness. We invited students from McKinley Tech and encouraged our professionals to bring their clients, friends and families so we could all embrace this message together.
MB: As a movement, what impacts are you seeing across the private sector with regard to the business of kindness? And why do you think it matters?
TT: From a business perspective, this campaign affects the fundamentals of business operations and ultimately a company’s bottom line. The more positive and fulfilling the office environment is, the more supported and productive our workforce can be. It’s that simple.
You know, recent research by Harvard Business Review shows that that kinder workplaces see increased productivity, engagement, well-being and employee satisfaction. Kinder workplaces also exhibit less stress and absenteeism. Kindness makes good business sense.
MB: Please talk specifically about the effects of incorporating the business of kindness internally at Deloitte?
TT: Refocusing our workplace culture on kindness is a way to help our people be happier in their work and as a result more engaged with their clients.
At its heart, the business of kindness is about relationships, which is what we do here at Deloitte. As we work internally to promote healthier and stronger relationships, we can translate those same strategies to how we engage our clients.
MB: So, on a personal level, what does the business of kindness mean to you and how do you apply it to your leadership at Deloitte?
TT: I view the business of kindness as core to the Deloitte values of mentoring, development and ultimately our culture of courage. And I feel privileged to be a leader at Deloitte, where we are driving inclusion in such an active way.
I try to live, both in work and in my personal life, by the motto, ‘It’s better to be good than to be right.’ In other words, I can still be a leader and challenge others’ opinions, but I can do so with respect and, indeed, kindness.
MB: Tamika, it’s been so wonderful to chat with you today. Through my previous consulting practice and my current work in community development, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work with many leaders and to see what you are doing at Deloitte is truly remarkable. I believe the way you are championing the business of kindness initiative and integrating into the day-to-day operations at Deloitte will have a profound impact on your employees, the Rosslyn community and the industry at large.
TT: Thank you! We really look forward to bringing the community together and celebrating the business of kindness.
Deloitte is one of 1,000 companies that call Rosslyn home. For more information about the business of kindness at Rosslyn Cinema please visit rosslynva.org/cinema.