Promoting a Culture of Workplace Respect
What does workplace respect look like? If you're working in a respectful workplace, you may not ever think about this because you assume that all workplaces feel as comfortable as yours does. However, if you hire an employee for your insurance jobs who does not fit into your culture of workplace respect or if you notice that the feel of your insurance agency is changing, you may need to revisit and consciously build a respectful workplace culture.
Give Respectful Feedback
Talking about job performance can often feel awkward, yet it's an essential part of the workplace culture. One thing that is not respectful is to avoid talking about performance altogether. This denies employees the opportunity to learn and grow. Instead, create regular self and employer-led evaluations and opportunities for discussion, so that employees know when and how they will be evaluated. Focus on supporting the employee's growth in the position rather than critiquing job performance. This feels more fair and respectful than out-of-the-blue evaluations and harsh feedback.
Give Employees Opportunities for Feedback
Office gossip can destroy a positive workplace culture. Set the tone with your own communications and refuse to participate in discussions like these. Give ample opportunities for employees to give constructive feedback about people and processes at work. According to The Balance, you can "let employees know you used their idea, or, better yet, encourage the person with the idea to implement the idea." If you notice that someone is chronically dissatisfied, connect with that person individually to both get feedback and to address issues of workplace gossip and complaining.
Listening Is Part of a Respectful Workplace
Ask your employees for their opinions. In a respectful workplace, people listen to each other. Yes, it may not be enjoyable to listen to an employee or a coworker talk about something that's wrong at work, but listening will improve your relationship. It could also improve your customer service practices. For example, if an employee is complaining about a backlog of work, you can be sure that the customers he is serving are also dissatisfied at the slow service. Improving the situation will make your agency better.
Make Sure Your Employees Have Meaningful Work
Respect your employees by appreciating and using their full skill set at work. If your employees feel that their skills are underutilized, then they will feel resentful and potentially bored. Talk with your employees about how they can bring all of their skills to the workplace. This could include expanding a position to add new responsibilities or promoting someone who is excelling in his or her current position. It could also mean that you support employees in areas where they want to or need to grow, so that they can do their jobs well.
Show People That You Care
In a respectful workplace, you think about your employees as employees, but you also think about them as human beings. For instance, if an employee wants to take time off to enjoy a child's school concert, you talk with that person and give him or her the ability to do so if possible. If an employee has a sick spouse, you all pitch in to help. According to Entrepreneur, "not only does this mean that employees will have richer, more positive relationships at work but also when there is a culture of support, employees won’t be afraid to ask for help." You spend a lot of time at work; spend some of that time creating a culture of kindness.
The Benefits of a Respectful Workplace
A respectful workplace yields bonuses not just for employees, but for the employer. When you set a respectful tone, your employees feel appreciated. They feel that you listen to their feedback. They will tend to stay longer, work harder, and speak well of your agency in the community, and this is good for your reputation in the long term.
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