The Importance Of Respect In The Workplace

Jan 17, 2018

For small business owners and managers, there are a lot of things to consider in driving the overall success of your company. Juggling employee motivation and the basic foundations for small business ownership is one thing.

But do you know how important cultivating respect in the workplace can be to your overall success?

Respect can protect your company, build your brand, grow your customer base, and motivate your employees.

Without a culture of respect in the workplace, your company will be operating inefficiently. Plus, any success you have in growing revenues and margins could be temporary.

If you are unable to retain clients and valued employees your business success can’t be trusted to remain viable year after year.

Let’s make sure you have the right culture in place to assure a stable foundation for growth and success. We’ve put together eight reasons respect is essential in the workplace.

Here’s why:

1. The Value of Culture

Did you know research states that after a certain salary threshold many employees care more about culture than they care about pay?

A culture of respect makes your employees feel valued more than money can.

What creates respect in the workplace? Equal treatment, advancement opportunities, fair compensation, and management style all contribute to fostering an environment of respect.

Valued employees work harder, stay with your company longer, and extend the same level of respect to your clients and customers.

Culture doesn’t just make you money by motivating and retaining employees. It goes far beyond and has a major impact on keeping clients happy.

A culture of respect has a direct connection to costs.

2. Lower Human Resources Costs

Keeping costs low is one of the primary goals of any small business owner. Unexpected operating fees and back office costs can ruin the profits for an entire quarter or year.

Creating a culture of respect in the workplace will lower your human resources costs.

Recruitment and onboarding are more expensive than many managers realize. It can cost up to 150 percent of an employee’s salary to replace them.

If you respect your employees they will want to stay. It’s that simple.

Make sure you begin with a culture of respect from the top down and your recruitment and onboarding costs will be kept to a minimum.

3. Reduce Liability

No one wants their valued workers to feel threatened or discriminated against in the workplace. But unfortunately, many members of the Canadian workforce suffer unfair treatment and discrimination.

Respect in the workplace means protecting against discrimination. Employees are treated fairly and equally regardless of their personal characteristics.

Sexual Harassment

One of the many ways that respect can be absent in the workplace is when it comes to sexual harassment.

Unfortunately, the issue is widespread and pervasive. 30 percent of Canadian employees report they have been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Don’t let this happen in your company. Protect your employees by creating a culture of respect in the workplace.

Beyond the loss of valued employees who are harassed and threatened and are forced to leave there are many other implications for your business.

You could face heavy penalties in a court of law for failing to protect your employees. And in certain parts of Canada, employers are now required to investigate each claim.

Protect your employees and protect your business with respect. A zero-tolerance culture of sexual harassment will allow all of your employees to feel safe and respected.


There are 11 grounds that are protected against discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act. They are:

  • race
  • national or ethnic origin
  • colour
  • religion
  • age
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
  • marital status
  • family status
  • disability
  • a conviction for which a pardon has been granted or a record suspended

Respect in the workplace means abolishing any discrimination in terms of treatment.

4. Maintain Productivity With Respect in the Workplace

Beyond the costs to recruit and onboard employees, there is a major issue with not having the right culture of respect in place in your company.

When employees leave due to mistreatment your productivity dips accordingly.

It takes time to replace employees when they leave. The Canada Human Resources Centre estimates there are long timelines for finding qualified workers in various roles.

The estimates of time to replace are as follows:

  • Executive: 15 weeks
  • Management/Professional: 9 weeks
  • Technical: 7 weeks
  • Clerical Support: 4 weeks

Can your business afford to lose that level of support for a month or more? Your customers are bound to leave if they are being mismanaged or are receiving subpar support and service.

5. Increase Productivity

There are also a variety of benefits from creating respect in the workplace for your business.

Your employees will be motivated to do more.

In a landmark study by Harvard Business Review, it was revealed that more than half of all employees don’t feel respected by their bosses.

The implications of this are far-reaching. If you can deliver a culture of respect your employees will respond.

Here’s how your employee’s productivity will increase according to the research:

  • 56 percent of employees report better health and well-being
  • They have 1.72 times more trust and safety
  • They received 89 percent greater enjoyment and satisfaction with their jobs
  • A 92 percent greater focus and prioritization

Of the people who said their leaders treated them with respect, they were 55 percent more engaged with work.

On one hand, you don’t want the excessive costs of replacing valued employees due to lack of respect. But can you imagine the benefits of increasing productivity by over 50 percent just by focusing on culture?

Your customers will be thrilled with the attention and respect they receive as a result.

6. Customer Retention

We have all heard the old adage that it is more expensive to get a new customer than to keep an existing one. Client and customer retention is the key to longevity in business.

You don’t just want your clients to stay. You want them to grow with your product and service lines.

According to Bain and Company increasing your retention rate by 5 percent can deliver up to 95 percent more profits to your bottom line.

7. Increase Your Customer Base

Happy clients lead to customer referrals. Respect in the workplace is contagious as it directly affects client retention.

But respect for existing clients is contagious as well. Word will get out and your client base is sure to grow.

The benefit of respect extends beyond the walls of your workplace. Positive reviews of your goods and services don’t just build your business, they build your brand.

If you want a brand associated with respect and service, boosting respect in the workplace pays big dividends.

8. Rewarding Respect with Respect

It should be clear that maintaining a culture of respect can be a difficult task. The reason for so many fines, damages, and failures for businesses is directly connected to a lack of respect.

But dedicating your business to respect can create a foundation for growth and success. Invest in training, lead by example, punish offenders, and reward your employees for their performance.

Nothing pays off like recognizing success when it comes to fostering respect. If you make sure your employees feel safe and protected and equal you will be ahead of the game.

They should see opportunities for growth and advancement in your company as a sign of respect for their hard work and efforts. In addition, compensating their performance with incentives will combine financial rewards with a culture of value.

Incentive pay affects employee engagement, satisfaction, and trust. You can keep building on your dedication to respect in the workplace by rewarding your employee’s efforts.

Start Today

There is no time to waste. Creating a culture of respect protects your company and assures business growth. But more importantly, you will have a direct hand in making your employees feel safe and valued every moment they are in your care.

Respect isn’t just a business concern. It is a vital responsibility of all leaders.



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