Human Resource professionals deal with many issues in the work-place from coaching employees, integrating new hires into the organization to placing struggling staff members on a performance plan. One of the most important values that is currently under attack is the value of respecting one another and treating fellow staff members in a civil manner. HR leaders are often charged with being the role model for the larger organization. As HR professionals, we must focus on supporting four key areas to ensure a “climate of civility”. Here are the four pillars to assist HR professionals create this new climate.
Listen Rather than Talk
Many of us do too much talking and not enough listening. We treat conversation as a one-way communication where our goal is to influence the other person and convert them to our point of view. Most people tend to treat conversation like a competitive sport, in which the person who says the most, makes the cleverest point, persuades others to adopt their opinion, or even speaks the longest and loudest is the winner. Many of us fall into this trap every day. All of us find ourselves interrupting and coming up with alternative ideas to support our point of view. If you stop and think about it, though, this approach is the opposite of the one we should actually take. In most conversations, the person who speaks least benefits the most and the person who speaks most benefits the least. When you focus on what the other person is saying and listen to their ideas you will be in a better place to add value to the conversation. The key take-away is listen rather than talk.
Respect Different Points of View
Be Open to Change
Have you ever tried to implement a new change in your company and found you have hit a road block? The executive team is supportive, your plan is thoughtful and you have secured the financial resources to make it happen; however, your employees simply didn’t want to change. Companies can encourage change and bring their employees along for the ride by communicating and sharing the vision and the strategy behind the proposed change. Transparency with the staff will alleviate concerns and encourage buy-in for the new processes. Having an engaged workforce that is open to new ideas is important and will allow the organization to respond to changes in the ever-changing market. Eliminating the fear of change is as important as improving communication and encouraging employees in become a part of the decision-making process. The key take-away is be open to change.
Challenge Inappropriate Behavior
Behaviors that are considered to be inappropriate in the workplace include being angry, exhibiting aggressive communication (both verbal and/or written) being disrespectful, belittling, abusive or threatening another person. Inappropriate behavior impacts morale, employee satisfaction and workplace cohesion. Today is it very important that not only managers take action to limit this behavior but also individual contributors need to recognize that they have a responsibility to notify management or challenge the inappropriate behavior immediately. Employees who are disrespecting their co-workers will often times only cease this behavior if they are informed that this behavior is unacceptable and that if it continues disciplinary action my result. A work environment that supports respectful behavior will ensure productivity, creativity and innovation. The key take-away is challenge inappropriate behavior.
These four principals if supported, encouraged and acted upon will help companies safeguard a work environment that will promote a climate of civility with Human Resources being a champion of respect.