Respectful workplaces don’t just happen, they are built. Organizations in Canada are taking proactive steps to develop and deliver respectful workplace policies and practices. Good guidance for these initiatives include a clearly articulated workplace policy, senior leadership commitment to employees’ psychological and emotional well-being, active and regular promotion of health and safety, adoption of inclusion and diversity policies, and effective training for all employees on expectations for respectful behavior.
One anticipated outcome is the creation of workplaces that are collaborative, engaged and safe. A significant challenge when developing and maintaining a respectful workplace is confronting all bullying and harassment incidents – with zero tolerance – by enforcing organizational policies and procedures. For this to happen effectively, an employer must be prepared and committed to take action when an incident arises.
It is everyone’s responsibility to know relevant workplace policy, procedure and practice in their respectful relationships with each other. If you haven’t read yours lately, this may be a good time to do so.
Advantages of a Respectful Workplace
Respectful workplaces are productive, rewarding, and enjoyable for everyone. They are environments where employees work well together and recognize that:
- Behaviors and attitudes affect others
- Building upon individual strengths and abilities fosters a positive workforce
- Each individual is unique and has the right to be treated with respect and dignity
- We may disagree, have conflicts and even become angry at work … however, being respectful during these (and other) times is not optional.
Respectful behavior displays personal integrity and professionalism, practices fairness and understanding, demonstrates respect for individual rights and differences and is accountable for one’s actions. A respectful workplace has these advantages:
- A welcoming environment
- Employee engagement
- Better health and well-being
- Respectful resolution of issues
- Increased productivity and initiative
- Increased morale and trust
- Increased creativity
At the core of developing a healthy workplace is each employee mindfully ensuring that they only engage in behaviors that are respectful to their peers. Take time now to decide how you can behave in ways that are respectful to yourself, to others and to our planet. It’s not just our responsibility; it’s our opportunity.