My Three Cents
MakovskyThursday, April 10, 2014
It’s all about respect.
Just how important is respect in the workplace? Let’s look at the data.
Last year, Forbes reported that the top five things employees look for when seeking a new job are:
- Health Benefits
- Work-Life Balance
I firmly believe that the reason one company’s culture works so much better than another’s is the degree of respect that exists among everyone, at every level in the enterprise. It’s all about the freedom to go into a room, honestly address an issue and—even if no one agrees with you—you know you will be treated with respect.
Sadly, this is not a universal phenomenon. All too often “the respect factor” is forgotten. Witness the following:
- A study, cited in the Memphis Business Journal a few years ago, found that 80% of the employees surveyed believed that lack of respect is a serious problem in the workplace. That is an amazingly high number! Moreover, 60% of respondents felt that the problem was getting worse.
- According to the Human Resources Employee Engagement Statistics, 63% of those who do not feel treated with respect intend to leave their present job within two years.
- The average Fortune 1000 executive spent 13% of his or her time mediating employee disputes, according to the Memphis Business Journal. Other estimates put the annual total cost of disrespect in the workplace at over $2 billion.
Building a community culture is fundamental. The ideal situation is one in which both leaders and staff construe the most respectful interpretation of what their colleagues are saying to them, which increases the comfort level and sense of safety. A zero-tolerance policy for disrespectful behavior frees up colleagues to be frank … to challenge each other and the status quo.
Taking all of this into account, what are some actions organizations can take to stay on top of this problem?
First, as HR Directors check in on employees informally, they should discuss if the employee feels respected, and if not, why not. The respect factor is a moving target and should be addressed at least twice annually. It should be asked in employee surveys, both individually and looking at the culture as a whole. The data should be collected, as new patterns often emerge, and solutions evolve.
Your values and the qualities you’re known for — including a sense of community, fairness, candor, openness and the free exchange of information — will always set your company apart from its competitors.