7 reasons why caring is the new unfair advantage according to science

Caring Unfair Advantage

Charles Darwin’s observation that “the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals, because they succeed in adapting themselves best for the environment”, has never been truer for business today, where disruption is rampant.

As we rush into the digital revolution, workplaces can seem less human, and yet we all yearn to feel accepted for who we are.

We want to be part of a supportive team, have a purpose that excites us, and have the opportunity to grow. Whilst being part of a caring team has always been the secret of great team, in these volatile and uncertain times it has become even more essential. So how do we create a more caring culture? We believe it comes down to THE CARE EQUATION.

THE CARE EQUATION is when we apply caring to how we manage and lead, we thrive. Self-care = thriving self. Team-care = thriving team. Customer-care = thriving customers. These are the 7 evidence based reasons why caring is good for us and good for business.

  1. CARE

The more employees who agree with this statement: “My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.” – the higher the profit, customer service levels and employee longevity.

(SOURCE: Conchie, B., & Rath, T. (2008). Strengths based leadership: Great leaders, teams, and why people follow. Gallup Press.)


Gallup research shows that disengaged employees have 37% higher absenteeism, 49% more accidents.

(SOURCE: Proof that positive cultures are more productive, HBR, December 1, 2015 by Emma Seppala and Kim Cameron)


Was found to be the #1 predictor of high-performance teams by innovation powerhouses like Google and IDEO. A psychologically safe team is where there is strong interpersonal respect and trust, where people feel cared for and are comfortable being themselves.

(SOURCE: What Google learned from its quest to build the perfect team, NYT, February 25, 2016)

  1. CHURN

Workplace stress leads to 50% higher voluntary turnover. Employees prefer workplace wellbeing to material benefits.

(SOURCE: Proof that positive cultures are more productive, HBR, December 1, 2015 by Emma Seppala and Kim Cameron)


91% of Australian employees agree that mental health in the workplace is important, but only 52% believe their workplace is mentally healthy.

(SOURCE: State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia, beyondblue, released May 2017)

  1. ROI

Basic mental health training of managers was found to lead to an 18% reduction in team sick leave. The control group who had no training had a 10% increase for the corresponding period. In addition to the reduction in absenteeism, it was estimated that the training was associated with a return on investment of $9.98 for each dollar spent on the training.

(SOURCE: Workplace mental health training for managers and its effect on sick leave in employees: a cluster randomised controlled trial, Lancet Psychiatry, 11 October, 2017 by Milligan-Saville, J.S… et al)


Organisations that place equal emphasis on employee wellbeing and performance are 220% more likely to be in the top quartile of profitability.

(SOURCE: Keller, S., & Price, C. (2011). BEYOND PERFORMANCE: How great organisations build ultimate competitive advantage. Gallup Press.)

How do we scale a caring and psychologically safe culture?

This is something I have pondered for a long time. Linking care to the vision and value of the organisation and having leaders walk the talk are prerequisites – but how do you scale psychological safety throughout an organisation? I now think we are close to finding an important piece of the puzzle.

We are developing deep learning, content and performance support delivered via an app, in partnership with Brenden Carter and Kane Marevich from The Learning Hook. If you haven’t come across them, check them out, because they have won numerous awards for their highly engaging elearning. Like us, they believe that the purpose of training is not knowledge, but action.

We were absolutely delighted with the feedback we received from demonstrating this new app to a number of large clients in Melbourne two weeks ago – thank you to those who participated. Next week, Brenden is coming to Sydney so we can demo our prototype to another 8 clients – and allow them to evaluate it on their own phone.

We will be providing regular updates in the coming weeks.

Caring is the new unfair advantage.

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