Respect as a Key Component of a Great Workplace

The Society of Human Resource Management's (SHRM) recently-released 2015 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Survey has some great nuggets of data to take away, including that in 2014, 86% of U.S. employees reported overall satisfaction with their current job. This is an improvement of five percentage points since 2013 and the greatest increase in the number of employees satisfied with their current job since SHRM began administering this survey in 2002.

This is music to the ears for us at Great Place To Work®, especially when we read that 72% of the more than 600 employees surveyed ranked "respectful treatment of employees at all levels" to be the most important factor in job satisfaction. Why? Because besides the fact that we're in the business of building great workplaces (and are always thrilled to see data that indicates great workplaces are on the rise) this data directly corroborates the Great Place To Work® Trust Model©. Our Model© details that the key to creating a great workplace is not a precise formula of employee benefits, programs and practices, but rather the building of high-quality relationships within the workplace.

Respect as Part of a Great Workplace

The Great Place To Work® Trust Model© identifies the workplace as composed of three interconnected relationships as represented by five dimensions: Credibility, Respect, Fairness, Pride, and Camaraderie. The Respect dimension measures the extent to which employees feel respected by management, through assessing the levels of professional support, collaboration, and caring employees experience through management's actions toward them.

In SHRM's study, Respect (72%) outranked aspects such as the work itself, compensation, and benefits when weighing job satisfaction, highlighting how vital this dimension is to establishing a great workplace.

"Respect" in Action in Great Workplaces

At the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For this year, 86% of employees believe they are treated with respect in the workplace according our Trust Index© Employee Survey. But what does respect at a great workplace look like?

Respect can take many forms, however, Best Companies regularly show respect for their employees through professional support, recognition, seeking employees' input and ideas, and also caring for employees as people with lives outside of work. Take Google's employee assistance program (available to all employees it offers widespread assistance like legal help, credit scores and assessment, finding a vet for pets, free onsite counseling services and clinical counselors), or Nugget Market's discounts (all employees receive 10% off groceries at their stores). These practices show a sense of care for employees, respecting them as people with needs beyond the workplace.

Other respectful practices from some of our recognized Best Companies to Work For include:

  • At Accenture, to reduce travelling employees' time away from their home cities, the Location Strategy is designed to provide more opportunities for employees to work in the cities where they live. Additionally, all client accounts are strongly encouraged to allow traveling resources to work virtually at least one to two weeks per month.
  • Publix Super Markets recognizes employees throughout the year for jobs well done. Managers are empowered to reward good attendance, safety, work performance and successful completion of projects. Many stores create newsletters to recognize new associates, birthdays, births, marriages and other important occasions.
  • Southern Ohio Medical Center includes all employees in company discussions about financial challenges, a practice that has enabled them to gain invaluable insights and innovative ideas on ways to curb expenses and generate revenue.

How do you show respect for your employees? Ensuring a strong sense of respect is a regular part of the employee experience at your company will go a long way toward building a culture that is a great one.

Jessica Rohman is Senior Content Producer at Great Place To Work®.

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