When a company culture emphasizes respect in the workplace it can have a big effect on performance, productivity, and even profit.
How respectful is the attitude at your company? Good manners, politeness and respect in the workplace can help employees feel valued, listened to, and more satisfied with their jobs. It can also help create a positive work culture and help you achieve your business goals. It all starts with a respectful management team that encourages employee engagement.
Let’s explore ways to create a respectful and inclusive workplace while eliminating bias and discrimination.
Why is respect so important in the workplace?
Is respect a 4-letter word in your workplace? If the mere thought of being respected while at work elicits sarcastic laughter and comments of “yeah right,” your organization has some work to do to create a positive workplace culture. A positive workplace culture:
- Eliminates both bias and bad behavior
- Promotes a fair environment that takes into account everyone’s personal feelings, career objectives, and goals
The truth is that organization-wide efforts — like making everyone feel respected and improving the company culture — begin at the top by eliminating certain behaviors and harmful trends in communication and workplace practices, including:
- Discrimination and harassment — could lead to lawsuits
- Long hours and overwork — not hiring new employees when needed
- Threatening language — “I’m going to fire you if …”
- Manager micromanagement — constantly checking up on and/or ordering employees around to the point where they cannot do their work
- Passive-aggressive comments, responses, and questions — sarcasm, a hostile vocal tone, or insincerity
- Poor or non-existent communication between managers, employees and departments — failure to distribute important information to the point where tasks and goals are not met
- Workplace cliques and watercooler gossip — the popular club, and “oh, did you hear about so and so …”
organization-wide efforts — like making everyone feel respected and improving the company culture — begin at the top by eliminating certain behaviors and harmful trends in communication and workplace practices.
Benefits of prioritizing mutual respect
When we think about demonstrating respect in the workplace, the Golden Rule is a good place to start. It states that you should treat others the way you wish to be treated. In other words, if you treat people with respect, you’ll get respect in return. Some of the benefits of prioritizing mutual respect in the workplace include:
- An increase in common courtesy
- Quicker accomplishment of business goals
- Improved communication
- Improved productivity
- Increased employee engagement
- Lower employee turnover
- More satisfied employees
- Reduced and possibly eliminated workplace discrimination
- Reduced stress
3 ways to demonstrate and promote respect
One way to teach showing respect at your place of business is to incorporate a list of ways to be respectful into your company policies. You can:
- Give examples and suggestions to new hires in your employee handbooks.
- Create video, online, and in-person training programs for both existing and new employees. In your training programs, consider showing or describing instances of disrespectful behavior, workplace discrimination, hostile body language, and disrespect in a person’s tone of voice.
- Follow up by describing or showing respectful employees, common courtesy, and examples of an inclusive workplace that’s open to new ideas and innovations.
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How to create a respectful work environment
There are some common concepts that you can promote to both new and existing employees to help create a respectful workplace as well as a positive work environment. These practices will encourage new ideas and innovations while helping your company meet its goals and objectives. You can incorporate the ideas below into employee handbooks and distribute them as notes and posters around your building:
- Create and maintain open channels of communication throughout the organization.
- Encourage free expression by eliminating bias.
- Ensure that new employees are greeted warmly and welcomed into the organization in order to create and maintain a positive work culture.
- Make sure that disagreements are resolved, fairly and without bias, to avoid creating a toxic work environment.
- Practice active listening and not interrupting when someone is speaking.
- Practice common courtesy and good manners.
- Promote fairly without bias or discrimination.
- Promote the sharing of ideas, regardless of the idea.
- Provide constructive criticism when needed.
- Remember to provide positive feedback to help keep motivation high.
- Provide equal opportunity training programs that can help employees advance their careers regardless of race, religion, nationality, gender, or creed.
- Recognize employees for a job well done.
- Treat people the way you want to be treated.
Improving workplace respect and company culture
By incorporating these concepts, you are helping to improve workplace respect and to create a positive company culture — a place where employees are excited to come to work and a place where they feel comfortable in sharing their ideas and innovations. You’ll be reducing the risk that your company will become one of the many toxic workplaces, and you’ll be reducing employee turnover and increasing your employees’ job satisfaction.
To learn more about how employee communication, mutual respect, and empowering employees can help your business grow and succeed in today’s competitive environment, check out our informative articles in Workest. Zenefits also provides tools to increase employee engagement and collaboration through its People Ops.