Are respectful workplace polices doing their job?

The findings of the ProActive ReSolutions workplace survey highlight that having respectful workplace policies doesn’t guarantee respectful behaviour.

In a survey of 8000 employees and manager conducted by ProActive Resolutions, sixty nine percent (69%) said they were aware of their organisations’ respectful workplace policies.

Yet, 58 percent said their organisations hadn’t prepared them to respond appropriately when they were being treated with disrespect, and 32 per cent said they were aware of two to five past incidents of disrespectful behaviour.

To ensure policy is transformed into action, workplaces should integrate respectful workplace behaviour into organisational values, performance reviews and training.

People at work unprepared

Over half of the employees and managers who participated in the survey said their organisations had not prepared them to respond to disrespectful behaviour.

• 55 percent said their organisations had not prepared them to respond appropriately to behaviour that made them feel uncomfortable.
• 58 percent said their organisations had not prepared them to respond appropriately when they were being treated with disrespect.
• 64 percent said their organisations had not prepared them to respond appropriately when they were fearful of being ridiculed or belittled

Policies violated

Significant proportions of managers and employees who participated in the ProActive ReSolutions survey said they were aware of past incidents that violated respectful workplace policies

Number of policy violations - Respectful Workplace Policies

Number of policy violations – respectful workplace policies

• 11 percent said they were aware of one incident of policy violation.
• 32 percent said they were aware of two to five incidents of policy violation.
• 26 percent said they were aware of more than five incidents of policy violation.
• Only 31 percent said they were unaware of incidents of policy violation.

So what is a Respectful Workplace?

Respect is a lot more than the old adage, “respect is earned not given”. Respect at work is feeling safe and secure about:

• Diversity and accessibility – the workplace welcomes people similar to you and different from you.
• Acceptance – the workplace values you for what you bring, and not what you are.
• Accommodation – the workplace takes reasonable steps to recognise your individual needs and help you do your job well.
• Clear expectations – there are clear expectations as to how we treat each other in the workplace.
• Effective communication – we communicate in a healthy and effective manner in the workplace.
• Effective conflict transformation and dispute resolution – the workplace makes available a variety of processes for changing relationships, behaviours, attitudes and organisational structures for the better and resolving disagreements.
• Active improvement – everyone plays a role in continually trying to improve the workplace.

Top six things to do to build respect

1. Redistribute your workplace behaviour and conduct policies often and talk about them often and in lots of different ways: for example, via the intranet, team meetings and in performance reviews.
2. Make workplace behaviour and conduct competencies part of your hiring and performance reviews for all employees.
3. Make your relationship management competencies part of your hiring and performance reviews for all managers.
4. Train your people in how to solve their day-to-day disagreements informally – that should take care of the
98 per cent of the issues that come up and which should never get to the formal grievance stage.
5. Train your people in the formal processes for addressing issues that cannot be solved informally.
6. Include in your policies a requirement to behave respectfully and collaboratively and in ways consistent with your organisation’s values.

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