Respect-1As I discussed in my last blog, I’ve noticed an increase in complaints of bullying and harassment in the workplace, which I believe is reflective of the polarizing political atmosphere in this country. This bad behavior presents a challenge to leadership, and to HR professionals who have to deal with the complaints. It’s essential that everyone who is in charge of establishing and maintaining policies and Codes of Conduct ensure that those policies and Codes:

  • Clearly articulate expected behaviors and consequences for behaviors outside of those expectations
  • Extend the requirements to oral, written and physical behaviors including social media, emails, etc.
  • Are incorporated into new hire, supervisor/manager and leadership training
  • Are communicated and reinforced across the organization on a regular basis through a variety of media, e.g., all-hands meetings, company newsletters, company intranet and social media, etc.
  • Are considered in the performance management process

Here are some additional tips for nurturing and maintaining respect and civility in the workplace:

Walk the talk. Leaders at every level need to set an example of good behavior. When someone in authority bullies or harasses a subordinate or a peer it gives others the license to do so.

Coach positive behaviors. Identify and address conflicts that get out of hand by role modeling and coaching more positive ways to interact and resolve issues.

Be consistent. Managers do not get a pass because they’re overwhelmed or don’t know how to manage. Train them. And make the expected behaviors apply to everyone.

Reinforce the message. In California, employers with 50 or more employees are required to provide supervisors and managers with anti-harassment/anti-bullying training every two years. Even if your company isn’t in California, I highly recommend that even employers with fewer employees provide the training, and that the training be provided to all employees.

Create an inclusive work environment.  Establish a culture where everyone is recognized and respected for their qualities, differences, ideas and contributions.

Reward those who live the values. Consider an awards program to recognize individuals and teams who demonstrate your organization’s values.

While setting the tone for respect and civility starts at the top, each individual employee also has a responsibility to role model good behaviors for their peers. As individuals, we need to demonstrate respect for ourselves and respect for others on a daily basis.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi