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Employees want to feel respected in the workplace, but this doesn’t always happen naturally. Some employers might have outdates or hierarchical policies and philosophies that do not extend sufficient professional courtesy or respect to employees. Businesses can create their own curriculum to train managers and employees how to build a more respectful work environment. They can also contract with outside experts or presenters to improve respect in the workplace.
Formal respectful workplace trainings might begin by stating objectives and training goals to keep presentations focused and efficient, according to the Oregon Statewide Training and Development Services. Trainings might also include videos that present potential scenarios of conflict and conflict resolution, or discussion questions to get employees talking about their understanding of what a respectful workplace involves. Checklists can increase individual or whole-group accountability in terms of their own contributions to a respectful dynamic. Presenters might conclude the training with a quiz to measure what participants have learned about respect in the workplace.
Participants benefit when trainings provide examples of a respectful vs. disrespectful workplace. Discussing examples of inappropriate workplace behavior can help a company eliminate these instances from the office. It is not appropriate for managers to intimidate or threaten employees, yet there is a difference between an assertive, forceful style and disparaging or demeaning statements, according to the EthicsPoint article, “Maintaining a Professional and Respectful Workplace.” Conflicting opinions, stern conversation or frank assessments are still part of a respectful workplace, and employees can still expect to be disciplined for inappropriate behavior.
Appropriately respectful communication can also be included in a workplace training session. The Brookhaven National Laboratory states that employees should refrain from interrupting individuals, and can contribute to a positive, respectful environment by saying "good morning," "please," "thank you" or offering appropriate compliments. During conversations, employees can refrain from looking at one another’s computer screens since this is an invasion of privacy. Employees should also avoid spreading rumors or making negative remarks about a colleague’s performance or personality.
Although a workplace environment reflects a company’s culture, trainings can help workers embrace their personal development as a respectful human being to make it a more meaningful experience. Employees might benefit from privately reflecting on their own moral character, including their beliefs about respect, according to the Institute for Excellence and Ethics. Dartmouth University states that people can attempt to identify their own roles in contributing to respect, tension or problems in the workplace. As individuals draw conclusions about their own stake in workplace respect, the conversation can circle back around to approaching colleagues or potential conflicts with patience and compassion.
Morgan Rush is a California journalist specializing in news, business writing, fitness and travel. He's written for numerous publications at the national, state and local level, including newspapers, magazines and websites. Rush holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, San Diego.