Respect in the Workplace

Ask anyone in the workforce what they most desire in the workplace, and the answer is likely “to be treated with respect and dignity”.

Unfortunately, over half* of employees in the workplace feel that they don’t get respect from top management.

Showing respect however is not limited to top management. Everyone in the organisation can, and should show, respect for others.

Whether you are regularly greeting your co-workers, cleaning up after yourself in the office kitchen, or wiping down a shared desk after you have used it, showing respect for others in the workplace is easy and long-reaching.

Here are some ideas to demonstrate Respect in the Workplace:

  • Treat people how you would like to be treated: with kindness, courtesy, and politeness.

  • If you see disrespectful or unsafe behavior that undermines the work environment, speak up.

  • Encourage other coworkers to share valuable or innovative ideas.

  • Actively listen to others.

  • Say “thank you”. Show gratitude often by making sure coworkers know you appreciate them and their actions.

  • Use other people’s ideas often to increase productivity and efficiency.

  • Do not insult people or talk behind their back.

  • Be considerate and discreet. Be mindful of your surroundings, if you work in an open workspace make sure to control your volume and respect your neighbors.

  • Do not micro-manage, criticize or demean others.

  • Be aware of your tone, physiology, and your demeanor during interactions.

  • Treat everyone equally, regardless of ethnicity, age, or religion.

  • Involve all necessary coworkers in meetings, lunches, and after-work activities.

  • Provide recognition of efforts, with copious praise and minimal criticism.

  • If you make a mistake, take responsibility and have a corrective action plan.

  • Be reliable by following through with commitments and responsibilities and keep your word.

Why is respect in the workplace important?

In respectful workplaces, employees are inclined to work harder and stay productive. In workplaces with little or no respect, employees report more conflicts and misunderstandings and have lower attendance and engagement.

In a survey of more than 20,000 employees, Harvard Business Review* found that respect was the top behavior that would lead to an increase in employee engagement.

When employees know they are respected, they are less stressed and more committed to their jobs. The same is true when employees know that top management values and respects them and their work.

Use this guidance if you are ready to take the next step toward building stronger organisational culture.

* Society for Human Resources Management 2014


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