The Number One Factor in Employee Satisfaction
Respectful treatment of all employees at all levels was rated as very important by 67% of employees in 2015, making it the top contributor to overall employee job satisfaction for the second year in a row.
8 out of 10 employees who feel disrespected are less committed. (SHRM)
You could use carrots and sticks to energize performance but showing respect is simpler and less expensive.
How to show respect:
I was asked during an interview, “How do you respect your customers when all you need is for them to make a purchase?” My thoughts went beyond customers to respect in general. The word ‘compassion’ came to mind.
Compassion feels like respect.
#1. Show respect by acknowledging personal struggle. Some team members have wayward children, others have financial stress, still others struggle with their marriage.
When you learn of a person’s struggle:
- Resist the urge to solve struggles for people. You disrespect the struggle when you offer off-handed solutions.
- Listen with interest.
- Express compassion. “I’m sorry you’re going through this difficult situation.”
- Express empathy. “It must be tough to face this challenge.”
- Offer kindness. “I can’t pay your bills, but is there anything I can do to make today a little better?”
- Show appreciation. “I appreciate your contributions while you’re carrying these personal concerns.”
#2. Show respect by acknowledging responsibility. Employees carry important responsibilities. Leading is tough and often under-appreciated.
You show respect when you:
- Appreciate the burden, even if you don’t feel it yourself.
- Realize that easy for you may be heavy to another.
- Notice strengths. “You’re really good at … .”
- Acknowledge progress. “I believe you’re an important factor in the way our meetings are improving.”
Research adds 5 ways to show respect:
- Delegate important tasks.
- Receive advice.
- Provide freedom to pursue creative ideas.
- Take an interest in someone’s nonwork life.
- Stand with people during critical situations.
What makes you feel disrespected?
How might you show respect to team members? Leaders?
I wonder if it’s just cynicism, but there’s a bit of me that wonders whether organisations are deliberately disrespectful to staff. After, all as long as disrespect is the number one factor in dissatisfaction, those organisations aren’t having to deal with the dissatisfaction around things like pay and terms, which ARE expensive…
Thanks Mitch. You have an evil mind. 🙂
Deliberate or not, disrespect is a negative force. If leaders realized how deadly it is and how easy it is to solve they would change. UNLESS they’re being deliberate. 😉
Sometimes words are over-rated. In many cases, you show respect by being present, not by what you say.
Brilliant. Thanks Robb. We can’t exclude words, but our presence means we believe others matter.
I would love to hear your perspective on how this interacts with this article by Amy Cuddy on trust and respect and consider if there might be more of an issue with trust. The two can get conflated. https://www.businessinsider.com/harvard-psychologist-amy-cuddy-how-people-judge-you-2016-1
Thanks Kathy. Trust makes respect work. If you don’t trust someone, anything they do to show respect won’t work because you won’t believe it’s sincere.
I was intrigued that the article focused on new relationships.
Thanks for connecting trust and respect. I am in a new position as a faculty senate president, and am spending the summer thinking of ways to build trust and respect between the faculty and the administration. This is a tough one.
Great blog, Dan. It is absolutely true that disrespect is the surest way to disengage employees and collaborators.
In my experience – some leaders have a tendency to use or hide behind the paradigm of being a straight shooter/straight talk to undermine the confidence and work of individuals lower in the hierarchy. Straight talk should is not and should not be a license to be uncivil, said one wise and experienced individual to me once. The higher up you are in the chain, the more respectful you ought to be to those around you.
Leaders everywhere have to internalize the human element. Being assertive, driving accountability and goal driven is not mutually exclusive to demonstrating respect, empathy and care!
Thanks MN. You remind me of a quote from my friend Bob Burg. “Those who take pride in being “brutally honest” are typically more interested in being brutal than they are in being honest.”
You are exactly right. Achieving results in a humane way is what great leadership is all about.
Another way leaders show disrespect is constant teasing. I have a leader right now that thinks he is being funny when he constantly teases people about their work, or doesn’t give straight answers. He THINKS he’s being playful, but honestly we just want him to LEAD and DIRECT.
We are also a department of mostly women, lead by a man, and I wonder sometimes would he behave the same way if we were all men? His boss is a man, would he tease and poke fun and never give a straight forward answer to him? Probably not.
Our respect for him has tanked because of his behavior. You have to give respect to get it. And you have to lead by example. Don’t expect your people to be focused and motivated if you can never be focused and serious yourself.
Dan, I swear you must be wondering our hallways this week, so much of your blogs this week have been so relevant to me! Thank you for this.
And thank you Stacey. Humor is a tough one. Especially if it’s sarcasm. I’ve learned that the hard way. My advice? If you want to poke fun at people, poke fun at yourself.
Having said that, I wonder if this is a man thing. Guys can pick on each other and, if we respect it other, it’s fun. My wife doesn’t get it. We’ve talked about this difference. She never makes fun of her friends. But I don’t hesitate to say, “You’re a loser,” to one of my guy friends. I’m not making excuses for your boss. Just observing.
We aren’t funny if the people around us don’t enjoy the humor.
I find that by holding the non-performers accountable for their actions can also show respect to the high performers. It helps them realize, in a subtle way, that their performance is appreciated. (as well as telling them it’s appreciated of course)
Love this Pam. The things you tolerate say a lot about what’s important.
To me, it distills down to time – spending time with someone on the issues that are important to them is the foundation for respect.
Thanks Ryan. From a leadership point of view, that weekly check-in says, YOU MATTER.
Micromanagement is a form of disrespect that screams I don’t trust your ability to makedecisions. Delegate a task to someone, demonstrate trust, and if there is something that the person assigning the task does not agree with, have a discussion rather than reversing the person’s decision in front of the team.