A Culture of Giving

An aspect of the Pacific culture that I love is how communal-centric it is!

Where we share whatever we have and give to those without. I believe that this concept of giving and sharing is what makes us one of the happiest people in the world and science proves that. 

Current research in western studies have shown how creating a work environment where being a “giver” is valued, has increased efficiency, productivity, profitability and customer satisfaction.

 A “new-age” idea that has been embedded in our culture since its beginning and continues to be a part of our lives today!

So how can we, as Pacific organizations, apply this “Culture of Giving” into our work space and what are the benefits that come with this? 

I hope that you will find the strategies below to be thought-provoking as well as something you would implement in your organization!

Creating Systems that Value Giving

Most of the business systems that exist today do nothing to support the culture of giving but rather promotes and values takers. 

Examples of these are the common forced ranking performance reviews, win-lose contests and pitting employees against each other. These may have short-term gains but it isn’t sustainable. 

In contrast to these systems, rather develop: 

  • Design low-cost programs for giving (eg. mentorships) 
  • Designing performance reviews to account for giving 
  • Rewarding and recognizing givers 

Appreciation As A Central Value

Have the insight to give credit where credit is due. It doesn’t take a lot for people to feel appreciated, a little acknowledgment here, a little praise there is all it takes. 

For someone who is committed to the vision of the company, that extra boost of getting recognized for all the time and effort they put into the organization does wonders! 

Identify And Reward Background Givers

Beware though! Appreciation has to be deserved and authentic for this to actually work. 

There are those in any organization that prefer to contribute from the background without thought to praise, promotions or rewards. These “silent givers” or B-Players (a post for another day) put in the hardwork daily and almost always pass the accolades up to the high-flying superstars who are happy to bask in the limelight. 

It is so important that these silent givers are identified and rewarded. They often feel unnoticed and it really doesn’t take much to show that you value them. They, with their experience and knowledge, have immense strategic value to the organization and holding on to these B-Players will reap rewards in the future. 

The horizons that once limited the world of business are slowly being pushed further and further along and having the right mindset and people in your organization has been proven to be essential if you want to keep up. 

It is proven that having a giving culture and rewarding givers is beneficial for organizational effectiveness and sustainability. We, as Pacific Islanders and those that are blessed to call the Pacific our home, have this concept ingrained into our culture and everyday lives. It is not a new innovative idea for us, though it has been from the western perspective! 

So why have we been late in implementing this culture into our organizations? What are some reasons we, as people professionals and business leaders, would be reluctant to implement these strategies? 

I hope to shed some light, given my personal experiences, on why this may be so and ways we could ease into this mindset in the next part of this topic.

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