“Respect is like air. As long as it’s present, nobody thinks about it. But if you take it away, it’s all that people can think about.” – Ron McMillan
The above quote from the best-selling book titled Crucial Conversations is entirely accurate, especially in workplaces. Nothing resonates with employees better than an environment that shares a sense of mutual respect towards their peers.
While the aforementioned fact is certain, the other contrasting reality is that employees often don’t see eye to eye and can have differences of opinion regarding how work is done.
As a result, workplaces will generally harbour conflicts from time to time, leading to decreased productivity and employees feeling demotivated or ultimately disengaged. This will also translate into higher attrition and lower retention levels, harming the overall HR initiatives and efforts.
It is, therefore, essential to driving home (office) the professional attitude and respectful demeanour towards each other to overcome this. But how does one arrive there? Let’s map the journey towards creating an atmosphere full of mutual respect and how it can help an organisation keep its retention levels in check.
Benefits of Mutual Respect at the Workplace
There is no doubt that employees want to do their best for people they are respected by. They want to go above and beyond in achieving the results only when they feel the organisation they work for respects them. Below are some hard-core benefits of cultivating a culture of mutual respect at the workplaces, which harbours intense retention levels.
1. Promotes Collaboration
Employees disagree on various work-related aspects. It is the manager’s job in charge to intervene and ensure such conflicts are resolved respectfully.
Every party involved should be given an adequate chance to explain their viewpoint. This alone will instil confidence amongst employees that their opinions do not fall on deaf ears and help promote collaboration between peers.
2. Builds Trust and Commitment
Organisations that maintain a respectful attitude towards their employees can also feel a sense of belongingness. People think they can trust their leaders and their co-workers better, as they experience a sense of respect coming from them.
As a result, they find themselves much more engaged and satisfied at their jobs, leading to an overall increase in workplace happiness.
3. Better Work Atmosphere
Humans thrive on social interactions as they are social beings by nature. Companies who realise this should also ensure that they encourage such natural desires amongst their employees openly. More socially acceptable work cultures promote mutual respect much better as the employees can interact freely and openly.
It is like allowing employees to figure out new and better ideas by way of open communication, all the while ensuring that they respect everyone’s views. This results in a thriving work atmosphere that will only reflect a positive bottom-line for the company.
How Mutual Respect in the Workplace Can Lead to RetentionMutual respect should be at the core of authentic principle-based leadership. This is why leaders have an inherent responsibility to lead by example and maintain a sense of mutual respect towards everyone. Click To Tweet
One of the cost-efficient ways to retain employees is to ensure that they feel respected and appreciated. Companies that ingrain mutual respect as an essential part of their work culture go a long way in building solid employee-employer relations, which leads to a strong sense of commitment towards the organisation. Here are some basic ways companies can promote mutual respect amongst their employees.
1. Leading by Example
Mutual respect should be at the core of authentic principle-based leadership. This is why leaders have an inherent responsibility to lead by example and maintain a sense of mutual respect towards everyone.
It can be achieved in many ways, such as demonstrating respectful behaviour daily, being cordial and kind in every interaction, welcoming and respecting different opinions, avoiding derogatory language, etc. In addition, leaders can inspire mutual respect by making it a mandatory part of their everyday behaviour at work.
2. Maintaining an Open-Door Policy
Employees want to be heard. Period. Companies that maintain an open-door policy communicate that they respect their employees’ opinions and welcome their feedback and ideas.
It speaks volumes about their intention or willingness to help their employees feel empowered to express their thoughts about various issues. Instead of having a rigid policy where employees feel stifled to speak up, having an open-door policy is akin to saying that the organisation respects their views and thoughts.
3. Offering Appreciation Openly
Offering appreciation and feedback is one crucial retention technique that companies can no longer keep on the backburner. While employees love feeling appreciated for their hard work, expressing gratitude openly in front of their peers adds cherry on the cake.
A critical insight from this report states that more human-centric approaches can help meet recruitment and retention challenges. A crucial takeaway from this is to remember that openly appreciated employees consider it an act of respect towards their mettle and are pushed further in a positive direction to contribute more productively.
4. Including Mutual Respect in Company Vision and Mission
Like mentioned earlier, mutual respect should be at the core of good leadership. In tune with that, a reasonable administration can sustain only if the company’s mission and vision are aligned with the same.
Therefore, by perpetuating the organisations’ mission, vision, and goals to the employees, organisations should inculcate mutual respect as a core or basic tenet to be followed company-wide, without any exceptions.
Some Actionable Ways of Conveying Mutual Respect at the Workplace
These are some actionable ways managers and leaders can make sure to instil in their company culture to birth a mutual respect workplace:
- Treat people with politeness, courtesy, and kindness.
- Stay professional with the tone of voice as well as thoughts
- Avoid criticising, judging, demeaning or condescending anyone
- Use people’s ideas and implement them in building policies
- Ensure people know and understand that their ideas are valued
- Allow people to express their viewpoints openly and freely
- Communicate that there are no wrong or correct answers and that everybody has a say in company-related matters
The Bottom Line
One of the critical aspects of an attractive workplace is that it considers mutual respect indispensable to their work culture. Therefore, every working professional must not only conduct themselves respectfully but also give due consideration to others.