The Definition of a Respectful Workplace

Maintaining a respectful workplace is the responsibility of all employees.
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A respectful workplace is one where each employee is treated fairly, regardless of work experience, time with the company, gender, cultural background or any other distinguishing factor. This type of environment promotes healthy and positive working relationships between all employees, customers and other stakeholders. A major advantage of a respectful workplace is that it allows employees to function at their best, which in turn increases the likelihood of financial success.


    A respectful workplace program has numerous objectives, all designed to maximize staff cooperation and productivity. These objectives typically include ensuring that all employees are aware of company policies on how to interact with one another, how to conduct themselves while on the job, and the courses of action that will be undertaken when an individual violates these rules. A good program will educate employees on how to resolve conflicts and provide the means for facilitating the resolution process. It will also provide guidance on appropriate behaviors and communication techniques.

Disrespectful Behavior

    Disrespectful behavior can be described as acts which create a negative or threatening atmosphere in the workplace. Companies should implement and enforce policies that protect their workers from all acts categorized as disrespectful behavior. For example, if an employee engages in bullying behavior, the company should have a policy in place outlining the disciplinary action she will face. To help support a respectful workplace, companies should also have training programs that teach employees how to avoid and deal with disrespectful behavior.

Resolving Issues

    When no attempts are made to resolve conflict, the situation could escalate. A good workplace program offers resources that employees can use to effectively resolve their conflicts in a productive manner. Examples of these types of services include counseling, education/training, and team building programs. Employees should also be encouraged to report acts of disrespectful behavior. The company should have a process employees can follow to report incidents without fear of reprisal from management or coworkers.

Demonstrating Respectful Behavior

    Harmonious and healthy working relationships begin with respectful behavior. Workers should be encouraged to treat each other with professionalism and positive reinforcement. Management should take the lead in demonstrating how to build respectful relationships. Whenever possible, avoid giving negative feedback. If a situation arises where an employee must be taken to task for his performance or behavior, it should be delivered in private and with constructive intent. Never criticize an employee in front of his work mates.

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