Respect in the workplace is not just a good idea, but good for a company’s bottom line. Rude and disrespectful behaviors can create a dysfunctional workplace that pits people against each other, halts civil communications and destroys teamwork. Company culture becomes one of resentment and mistrust. When people can’t work together toward a common goal, the entire company suffers. If bad behaviors like these are widespread in your company, it may be time to train employees on the importance of respect in the workplace.
Importance of Respect in the Workplace
Understanding disrespectful behavior is necessary for understanding the importance of respect in the workplace. Disrespectful behaviors are negative and can be verbal or physical. Examples include yelling, pushing or shoving, ridiculing, ostracizing, withholding information and any form of discrimination and harassment. Employees on the receiving end of these bad behaviors may lose job focus, avoid work or look for other jobs. Legal and financial problems are possible due to allegations of discrimination or harassment. In any case, disrespectful behavior disrupts business flow and results in productivity losses. Establishing a culture of respect in the workplace can turn things around.
Training sessions can help with culture change and help put the brakes on disruptive behaviors as long as policies and procedures are in place to educate employees. Training should cover each policy and procedure, as well as the consequences of disrespectful behavior, in detail. This training should also cover employee roles and responsibilities in ensuring a respectful environment. After training, there should no doubt that the new workplace norm is zero tolerance for disrespectful acts of any kind.
Policies and Procedures
Workplace policies and procedures establish guidelines for a proper code of conduct and a process for dealing with those who don’t conform. These policies set behavior expectations and normally include a harassment-free workplace policy that prohibits offensive or harassing behavior, a discrimination policy that prohibits the adverse treatment of employees on the basis of personal characteristics and a workplace violence policy that prohibits threats, threatening behavior and acts of violence. Consistent enforcement of these policies and procedures shows maintaining a respectful workplace is a priority.
Roles and Responsibilities
When a company commits to creating a respectful workplace, every employee has a role. Everyone in the organization is responsible for creating and maintaining a positive workplace. Managers are responsible for promoting an inclusive culture by following and enforcing policies put in place to address disrespectful behaviors. They are also responsible for holding people accountable for their actions. Employees are responsible for reviewing and understanding conduct policies. They must take stock of their behavior and make the proper adjustments in accordance with policy.
Deb Dupree has been an active writer throughout her career in the corporate world and in public service since 1982. She has written numerous corporate and educational documents including project reports, procedures and employee training programs. She has a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Tennessee.