Respect in the workplace is everything—especially when it's missing. Respect simply means that everyone on your team feels valued and visible. They are treated with kindness, dignity and appreciation.
In short, respect is all about accepting others for who they are and looking out for their best interests; i.e., doing right by them, even when they're not there to defend themselves.
Why is respect in the workplace so
We spend more time at work than any other waking activity. How we're treated at work (for better or worse) carries over into our home lives. It affects our sleep, which affects our health.
A respectful workplace reduces employee stress, issues and conflicts—it builds feelings of trust, safety and wellbeing. This ultimately improves communication, strengthens teamwork and helps promote a positive culture—making employees happier and more motivated at work.
Examples of respect in the workplace
Respect should be a standard in the workplace, regardless of personal feelings and differences. Here are some ways to show respect in the workplace:
- Use manners (say "please, "thank you" and "excuse me")
- Speak in a respectful tone
- Accept responsibility and apologize when you make a mistake
- If you're going to assume, assume the best
- Praise more often than you criticize
- If you do need to criticize, focus on solving the problem (not tearing down the person)
- Speak up if you see someone being disrespectful
- Respect other people's property, time and hearts; for example, when someone's sharing a story, let them have the limelight. When someone apologizes, accept it gracefully.
Your workplace respect checklist
Here is a checklist you can use to gauge and promote respect in your workplace. I encourage you to have employees at all levels participate to ensure respect is being evaluated from the perspective of the team, not simply the leader.
- My co-workers are supportive and encouraging
- My co-workers communicate professionally—without hidden agendas
- Everyone at my company is polite, professional and kind
- My colleagues listen to what I have to say and value my opinion
- People in my office treat each other professionally
- My co-workers and supervisors show me appreciation
- Feedback from my colleagues and supervisors is constructive
- Disputes and disagreements at my company are resolved in a healthy, respectful way
- My co-workers and supervisors take responsibility and apologize when they make mistakes
- I have never experienced harassment, abuse or threats at work
- The leaders in my organization model behaviors that support a respectful workplace
- The leaders in my organization recognize that employee safety, health, wellbeing and work-life balance directly impacts professional success and productivity
- People at my company are treated with respect, regardless of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, appearance or ethnicity
- My organization has a known respect policy
- The respect policy at my company is meaningful and understandable
- My employer reviewed the company's respect policy during my orientation
- Respectful workplace training was part of my onboarding process
- I signed a non-violence or respect agreement during orientation
- There is a clear process for reporting violations of respect at my company
- I know who to go to if I need to report violations of respect
- I feel safe at work—this includes feeling safe in speaking up
- I am happy when I am at work
- I feel respected at work
How to teach respect in the workplace
Your checklist evaluations should give you an idea of how employees perceive your workplace. What are the themes you see, across employee responses? These can indicate strengths and/or areas to be improved.
But it can be hard to teach respect.
Respectful workplace training will teach employees that they shouldn't judge their co-workers based on their appearance, background, views or life choices. And it will also teach employees to encourage and support each other—to appreciate the unique perspectives each employee brings.
Easier said than done, yes?
For help with respectful workplace training at your company, reach out to me today. Together, we'll determine how I can best help you and your team get the respectful workplace you all deserve.