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I Cant Get No Respect

This “sage” quote from Rodney Dangerfield is an important reminder that we need to consciously consider how we personally demonstrate respect in the workplace, as well as how to incorporate respectful interactions into our company cultures.

Besides it being “the right thing to do,” why is demonstrating respect in the workplace so important?  Well, according to a Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) survey, respectful treatment of all employees at all levels was rated as “very important” by 72 percent of those surveyed – making it the top contributor to overall employee job satisfaction.

So what are some ways to effectively demonstrate respect and make it grow within a company? 

First off, you may believe that you and your company already have this down and you don’t need to read further.  However, different people react differently to not only your words, but your tone, body language, etc.  You may intend to act respectfully, but some people may take what you say in a way that they feel disrespected in the process.  So reviewing a few “respect best practices” is not a bad idea.

So what areas do I need to consider?

First the obvious ones:

  • Treat people how you would like to be treated: with kindness, courtesy and politeness.
  • Don’t insult people or talk behind their backs
  • Treat people the same no matter their race, religion, sex, age, etc.
  • Don’t nitpick, micromanage, criticize or demean others
  • Be aware of your tone, body language, expression and demeanor during all interactions

Next are ways to encourage respect within the organization, show empathy and set a good example:

  • Encourage coworkers to share their valuable ideas
  • Actively listen to others. Never interrupt or comment before they are finished
  • Use other people ideas often to increase productivity and efficiency (but be sure to publically credit their contributions!)
  • Include all necessary coworkers in meetings, lunches or after work activities.  Provide equal opportunity for employees to participate in committees or improvement teams.
  • Always praise more than criticize.  In addition, encourage employees to give praise to others.

The results of these demonstrations of respect will provide a host of benefits, such as:

  • Greater employee job satisfaction
  • Greater employee engagement
  • A sense of fairness in the workplace
  • Reduction of employee stress
  • Improvement in employee collaboration

So talk with your managers and teams about ways you can all consistently demonstrate respect to those around you and encourage it in all employees.

By Ann Condon, Communications Manager