By Sue-Ann Maislin, Senior Consultant, Workplace Learning Solutions.
A respectful workplace creates productive and engaged employees. On the other hand, workplaces where employees feel disrespected experience high levels of turnover, conflict, grievances, and low levels of engagement, attendance and productivity.
The Human Resources Director for one of our clients approached us seeking a solution to the following:
An employee alleged that two colleagues (one of them her supervisor) often made demeaning comments and joked about her appearance, ethnicity and gender. She asked them to stop but was ignored. One morning, she found an offensive cartoon affixed to her locker; her coworkers and supervisors stood nearby laughing.
She approached the plant’s General Manager who advised her to “chill out and laugh it off. It’s just the way things work around here!” She was so upset that she called in sick for the next three days. When she returned to work, she met with HR about the situation and was so distraught that she could not stop crying. She couldn’t afford to quit but was too humiliated to face her coworkers.
The HR Director believed the allegations to be true since she’d overheard her fair share of inappropriate comments, language and humour in the workplace. However, in her 10 years with the organization, no one had complained.
We were able to help with our Respect in the Workplace workshop. This instructor-led workshop is offered in two modules (half day and full day) and focuses on the benefits of respect in the workplace, including:
- Supports a mentally healthy and psychologically safe workplace – in alignment with the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace
- Accountability for one’s actions and understanding that they are responsible for contributing to a respectful workplace.
- Fosters a workforce that embraces diversity.
- Improves working relationships.
- Improves problem-solving and conflict resolution.
- Increases productivity and engagement.
- Reduces workplace stress.
- Supports a workplace culture of fairness and equity.
Depending on the situation(s) in your workplace, we have additional solutions available that can be explored in conjunction with our Respect in the Workplace workshop or as stand-alone solutions:
- Sensitivity Training: 1-1 training for employees and/or people leaders that have been implicated in human rights complaints that could include harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination, etc…. The specialized training is designed to promote individual awareness and accountability for respect in the workplace.
- Workplace Investigations: An unbiased, independent consultant assists in determining if allegations of human rights violations (harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination, etc…) brought forward by a complainant are factual according to policy and legislation.
- Team Cohesiveness Initiatives: Combines workplace assessment and small group facilitation to help participants understand the issues that create discord and facilitate restoration of healthy and cohesive working relationships.