Creating “Respectful Workplaces” begins with the definition of respect: “Due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights or traditions of others.” and “Appreciation of a person or idea for their qualities or traits.” It’s a simple idea – that makes a huge impact one way or the other.
Imagine having to go to work every day, in an environment where no one seems to have any regard for you, your privacy, your physical boundaries and belongings or even your point of view. UGH! Just thinking about it is enough to make a person feel exhausted (or at least in a negative frame of mind).
Disrespect can derail a person, a team or an entire business. Some forms of workplace disrespect are fairly obvious such as: gossiping, shouting, rude comments or outright bullying. However, these are not the only types of disrespect. Think about how you might view your workplace if it were full of smaller factions or “cliques.” Perhaps it’s a situation where one coworker’s time is valued as more important than another’s. Maybe it’s that the company lacks transparency and allows unfounded rumors to circulate among the employees. To say nothing of the “bottom line” sense of disrespect; where employees are underpaid by industry standards implying their work is either “sub-par” or undervalued by the company.
There are many, many ways an employee may feel disrespected in the workplace. Creating a respectful workplace isn’t just “the right thing to do,” it reduces stress and increases productivity! Respect in the workplace increases employee satisfaction and decreases employee turnover. It can even increase the likelihood of employees being collaborative, which can lead to amazing achievements!
So… how do you build a culture of respect in the workplace? Great question!
Here are a few of the basics:
- Don’t allow the “classic signs” of disrespect to erupt or continue in your company. Explicitly explain which behaviors and language constitute “disrespectful conduct” and DO NOT BACKSLIDE. Consistency is KEY!
- Listen to the ideas and complaints of ALL of your employees. Everyone’s voice matters.
- Don’t just listen to what your employees say, pay attention to the way in which they say it. Pay attention to their tone and body language too.
- Trust your employees with the truth. Be transparent.
- Help your employees feel great about their work by providing quality and meaningful feedback.
- Include all of your employees in discussions that will directly impact their work.
- Don’t publicly discipline your employees.
- Make a commitment to ensure none of your employees feels disrespected by providing training on developing and maintaining “Respectful Workplaces.”
Your employees are your biggest asset. Treat them the way in which you’d like to be treated. Ensure they understand you respect them and they will reciprocate.