A respectful workplace is more than the absence of discriminatory behavior. In a respectful workplace, each person can contribute his or her best, knowing that these contributions will be valued. In a respectful workplace, employees and management work to support one another.

A respectful workplace:

  • is inclusive;
  • values diversity;
  • communicates behavioural expectations clearly; and
  • promotes employee health and safety.

Why is respect important?

Respect is important in an organization because respect helps to build trust and encourages people to work together. In turn, this leads employees to become more engaged resulting in employees becoming invested in the success of the organization.

When employees work in a disrespectful environment, it can result in anxiety, distrust, disengagement, avoidance, negativity, increased absenteeism, etc.

Why do people engage in disrespectful behaviour?

Disrespectful behaviour can stem from a number of reasons such as learned behaviour, not realising that the behaviour is unacceptable and insecurity. Sometimes, organizations enable disrespectful behaviour by turning a blind eye, because:

  • the person is a “star”
  • management wants to avoid conflict
  • management does not know how to deal with the situation
  • of the belief that things will “blow over” if left alone
  • there are no policies in place to address the problem

Tips for respectful behaviour in the workplace

  • Know your “hot buttons”
  • Listen actively
  • Ask questions respectfully
  • Talk to people directly about concerns
  • Don’t “put down” people
  • Ask yourself if you have biases or “blind spots”