Workplace Respect Matters – Especially During Times of Stress
Almost everything has changed, but one thing has not. Everyone wants to be treated with respect at work — now more than ever.
Workplace Respect – Onsite Employees
Workers who need to work onsite want to be thanked and appreciated for putting themselves in harm’s way. All of us need to express our gratitude to every delivery person, shop clerk, IT professional, health care worker, peace officer, and everyone else we see at work. Managers should be recognizing and rewarding their onsite employees every day for coming in.
Workplace Respect – Remote Workers
Remote workers want to be appreciated and thanked for their sometimes unseen work. Many are having to juggle their work along with schooling kids at home, cooking more meals, and working in tight quarters with their spouses. Many feel disconnected from work and miss the emotional ties they had to colleagues. Some are finding it difficult to concentrate on work with all the distractions at home. Managers should be holding regular 1×1 employee meetings and connecting with remote employees every day for a few minutes to thank them and see how they can help them.
Workplace Respect — Laid Off Workers
Employees who have been laid off are worried and may be struggling to pay for rent and food. They hope this will pass, that they will have a job to come back to. Many want to retain their connections to their co-workers and bosses. To lose your job, your income, your employer-paid health plan, your friends, your network, and your emotional support team all at once can be devastating. Managers can help them stay connected.
Employees Are Stressed
According to a recent survey by Weber Shandwick and KRC Research, nearly half of all US employees are concerned that their employers will bring them back to work before it’s safe and more than half worry about their company’s future and their job security. Many employees report personally dealing with anxiety, depression, and trauma. They may be personally affected by the virus. They may be sick. They may be caring for someone who is sick. They may have family in intensive care. Their loved ones may have died.
They all need our compassion and caring.
Companies, Leaders, Managers, and Coworkers Shoulder a Greater Responsibility
And yet, since this all started, we’ve heard stories of women being sexually harassed in virtual meetings, Asians being bullied because of the “Chinese virus,” and sexist comments about their looks being made to women doctors fighting COVID.
We also have heard of managers leading with their hearts, of doing the right thing, of taking care of their employees and former employees. Not only are they living their corporate values, they also are preventing lawsuits. That’s because when employees and former employees feel respected, they are far less likely to sue. To every manager who has used this time to show compassion and caring, thank you.
And thank you to leaders for working with us to make the world a better place.
The Bottom Line
Even though employees around the world consistently rank respect as the most important leadership behavior, too many leaders have an incomplete understanding of what truly constitutes a respectful workplace — especially during a time of crisis. Do your employees feel respected?
To learn more about creating a healthy, trusting, and respectful workplace, download 29 Ways to Build and Maintain Trust as a Leader
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