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Work Life: Respect

Find out what it means to your organization.

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When bad behaviour dominates the workplace, everyone pays.

“It costs employees in terms of their health, their well-being, their performance,” says Christine Porath, associate professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and author of Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace. “And it chips away at the organization’s bottom line.” 

Her research on the effects of incivility on the workplace found that 96 per cent of employees experienced incivility at work, and half said they experienced rudeness at least once a week – up from a quarter in 1998.

Targets of incivility experience low morale, reduced productivity and increased stress. A whopping 78 per cent said their commitment to the organization declined due to incivility they encountered at work.

It also affects retention. A July 2014 survey by Weber Shandwick and KRC Research showed that more than one-quarter of Millennials polled quit a job because their workplace was uncivil.

“You end up with a revolving door, unable to retain talent,” says Porath. “That’s costly for both the bottom line and the organization’s reputation.”

How does a firm foster a civil workplace?

Lead by example. From the top down, everyone should give equal amounts of respect.  Leaders that commit to civility send the message that a toxic work environment will not be tolerated.