There are many skills, behaviors and rules that employees must be taught on-the-job, but few will yield higher returns than teaching them how to demonstrate respect in the workplace. Employees who learn to see differences and diversity as a strength (not a source of conflict) are much more apt to support their fellow employees. Collaboration and mutual respect become the norm and employees feel empowered to protect and even build on the spirit of inclusion.
Providing respectful workplace training is the key to teaching these behaviors to all employees – from managers to individual contributors.
In today’s world, many people look and act differently than you do. They come from different backgrounds, parts of the world, have different religions and sexual orientations, or perhaps they simply weigh more (or less) than you do. To have true respect in the workplace, we must learn to be tolerant of all co-workers (and even vendors and customers). After all, if you discriminate against one of your co-workers for reasons other than performance, how can you credibly evaluate or support their work? This kind of intolerance undermines everyone’s performance because it harms the team. Respectful workplace training will teach employees that they shouldn’t judge others based on appearance, personal background or life choices.
Respect Each Other’s Perspectives
Anyone who’s ever worked in an organization knows you don’t always get along with your co-workers or agree with everything they say, even the ones you like. Nevertheless, it’s important to respect co-workers’ unique perspectives and knowledge when we don’t agree. Different points-of-view are crucial to today’s organizations. If we surround ourselves with people who think and act like we do, we will become insulated from change and new ideas. Instead, we should seek out people who think differently than we do; their input will often improve the result we’re trying to achieve.
Encourage and Support Others
Another way to demonstrate respect in the workplace is by teaching employees to encourage and support one another. We all feel the urge, at one time or another, to put others down or become critical of their work. However, there are ways to offer constructive criticism without diminishing someone’s creativity or motivation, and whenever possible, offer praise and encouragement instead. Another way to support and respect fellow team members is to make sure everyone feels included and like they belong, so invite people to participate in teams or committees, ask if someone would like to join you for coffee or lunch, and seek out the input of those who don’t usually speak up.
CRM Learning offers many respectful workplace training videos, including The Respectful Workplace: It Starts With You. This video models the day-to-day employee behaviors that help build a positive, supportive and inclusive workplace.