Respect In The Workplace – Why Is It Essential For Business

Workforce Management

In today’s business landscape, the workforce is made up of people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. As companies continue to embrace the benefits of workplace diversity, one of the most pressing challenges they face become a shared understanding of what it means to have mutual respect in the workplace.

What Does Respect In The Workplace Mean?

The notion of respect varies from one person to another. For some, respect is a feeling of treating someone well for their qualities or character traits. For others, respect can mean a manifestation of dignity towards people.

Regardless of personal feelings, respect starts by recognizing that everyone in the workplace is human, with feelings and personal lives outside of work. In a workplace with a respectful atmosphere, everyone understands that people have both good and bad days.

A respectful environment also recognizes that people bring different talents, skills, and experiences to the table. It acknowledges that everyone can contribute equitably and have the potential to make a positive impact on the team, the company, and the clients.

Workplace Respect In The Modern World

In the context of a modern workplace, having respect and strong people skills are needed more than ever. Having respect can significantly make it easier to navigate co-worker interactions.

In an article for Forbes, Natalia Peart said: “In our increasingly hyper-connected world, we’re no longer expected to work just as individuals or only in silos. Our projects have become more complex, so the ability to work effectively as part of a team has also grown in importance.”

To create a positive work environment, employees need to be mindful of their work actions and focus on treating others as they would like to be treated. To do this, it’s important to take the time to sit down and listen to each other’s perspectives.

Unlocking the secret to creating a fair environment will take time. However, the process starts by asking each person in your team the question “what makes you feel respected.”

Benefits Of Having Respect In The Workplace

Having respect in the workplace lets employees know their efforts are acknowledged and appreciated. Respect creates a positive work culture where employee engagement is high and employees work to their full potential.

Apart from increasing employee engagement rate, respect can also improve employee satisfaction and boost employee retention, which greatly helps in achieving business success.

There are plenty of benefits to having respect in the workplace. Some of the benefits are as follows:

Promotes Productivity and Collaboration

Respect helps employees think innovatively and encourages them to work harder because they know their ideas and contributions would be appreciated and acknowledged. Workplaces where employees treat each other in a respectful manner give workers the space to learn from each other and develop their skills.

Once your employees feel there is an equal opportunity, they will begin collaborating and sharing ideas. When collaboration starts, cross-training and informal learning can be done across multiple areas of your company.

Reduced Stress

A respectful work environment reduces stress among workers. Stress-free employees feel respected and more comfortable sharing ideas and working with their colleagues to reach a common goal.

Increased respect has also been shown to produce a positive mental and physical impact on workers’ health.

Improve Employee Satisfaction

When there is respect in the workplace, employees leave at the end of each day feeling proud of what they’ve accomplished.

Satisfied employees typically stay with companies that place more value on their work and where that offer career advancement opportunities like internal promotions or training. In fact, respect for employees is actually the very thing that helps many companies find a team member to fill in open positions in the first place.

Respect Creates A Fair Environment

One of the most important things a company can offer its employees is equal opportunity to showcase their skills and expertise. When companies offer the same respect to each employee, everyone is heard… everyone’s ideas are given the chance to thrive and contribute to a shared business purpose.

Consequences Of A Disrespectful Workplace

Working in a more positive work environment carries many benefits for companies. The same can also be said by working in a workplace where mutual respect does not exist and employees are not treated equally.

Disrespect in the workplace can lead to harmful consequences, including:


When a team member or leader refuses to show respect, it indicates a lack of psychological safety in the workplace. This will lead to distrust among employees and eventually create a toxic working environment.

According to a recent report in the Sloan Management Review, toxic work cultures are one of the biggest factors that drive employees to quit.

To prevent this, know how to gain respect. A simple way to start creating a positive workplace is by looking for patterns where leaders punish other team members or flex their power unfairly. Remember, respect grows out of integrity and modeling mutual respect.

Lack of Creativity

A workplace that does invest in promoting respect risks having a shortfall of creative ideas. A lack of respect prevents collaboration among team members. It also deters employees from sharing their ideas for fear that their voices would not be acknowledged and would likely only be shut down. These, in turn, prevent the company from solving problems efficiently and effectively.

Demoralized Workforce

Without mutual respect, employees will feel insulted and unvalued. Lack of respect in the workplace can also often lead to harassment, bullying, discrimination, and a lack of opportunities.

In addition to its negative effects in the workplace, disrespect can also exact a heavy toll on a person’s mental health and self-esteem.

How to demonstrate workplace respect

There are plenty of ways to show respect in the workplace. Huge gestures won’t even be required.

Here are some of the best and easiest ways for demonstrating respect in the workplace:

  1. Avoid gossiping or provoking the discussion of a topic based on rumors. Gossiping can cause psychological damage to the subject of the rumors.
  2. Do not use profanity or harsh language for any purpose.
  3. Greet your coworkers. If they greet you first, avoid ignoring them. Walking past them without even a slight nod or smile can be considered extremely rude.
  4. Acknowledge your coworker’s efforts and give recognition where it is due. Attribution and respect increases employee satisfaction and improve professional relationships.
  5. Creating prejudice against a person based on their age, race, gender, and certain characteristics should not be promoted in the workplace.
  6. Do not be insensitive to the needs of your employees. If someone is sick, consider giving them a leave from work. If someone is close to giving birth, consider offering maternity leave.
  7. Do not ignore phone calls or emails from your employees. Additionally, take care not to disclose the contents of confidential emails to other people, especially those outside the organization.
  8. While you should not ignore phone calls or emails from your employees, you should avoid answering any calls during a meeting as this can create a distraction.
  9. Avoid blaming your employees if certain mistakes were made in your department. Instead, defend them in front of company management and help them solve any issues.
  10. Listen to what other people have to say before you express your opinion. Never speak over or interrupt another person.