As I’m sure every adult has, I sometimes feel that as decades pass, so does the level of respect younger generations exude. Blame it on technology or some other societal change, but specific manners that were once taught and practiced years ago seemed to fade. Growing up, my parents taught me a couple rules to live by:
- Always be respectful
- Always say “please” and “thank you”
- Treat people the way you would want to be treated
Respect also plays a large role in a work culture. Paul Meshanko wrote a book titled The Respect Effect on this very issue. In this book, he discusses how being respectful in the work environment influences not only culture, but also increases productivity and reduces employment-related claims. Paul’s estimates indicate that, as a whole, the nation spends over $2 million annually for disrespectful behavior in the form of employment practices claims and litigation. Other research has shown as much as a $35 per employee increase in workers’ compensation costs as a result of disrespectful cultures.
While this concept is simple in nature, it’s not always the easiest to implement. As a society, we give “titles” and set levels of management that somehow seem to encourage people to see themselves as being more valuable to a company. I am extremely grateful to be in an organization where my philosophy on this issue is mirrored. The reality of any organization is that every individual has a key function, and without these functions operating successfully, an organization could not achieve its goals. So how does Assurance live this philosophy? There are a couple of very basic things that are done every day, which have a large impact:
- We smile and say “hi” to each other (regardless if we can remember their name or their department)
- We say “thank you,” and even give virtual “high-fives” to show our appreciation
- We listen by encouraging ideas and responding to every idea presented through the Ivan and Sharon Idea online platform
- We clearly communicate what’s happening with our organization and the impact it will make through our Annual Meeting and Town Halls
- We engage our employees by creating opportunities for all positions throughout the organization to get involved and take on a leadership role in various committees
Practicing these elementary philosophies at your own organization will nurture a respectful culture and assist in reducing the claims costs associated with and arising out of employees’ impression that they’re not respected.
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