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Respect in the Workplace

Respect: Stifle Rumors and Forgo Gossip

Office gossip is a major area of concern that impacts on a respectful workplace. It can range from harmless chitchat about a colleague’s experiences coaching Little League to mean-spirited remarks about an individual’s alleged drug use. Left unchecked, gossip can feed disrespect and rumors that contribute to a distrustful and conflict-ridden workplace. Mutual respect among employees then grows into an all-consuming problem.

In addition to gossiping about one’s personal life, employees often whisper about work-related rumors that typically focus on layoffs, office relocation and other potentially big news. Murmurs about such serious developments can prove so distracting that performance plummets. (Note that any respect video or videos on respect in the workplace must address this phenomenon of how individual employee behaviors actual erode respect at the workplace.) 

Through your actions, you can create an environment that shuts down malicious gossip and promotes a more respectful workplace. It’s not enough to rise above gossip and not do it yourself. You need to go a step further and stop it in its tracks. This is called being a change agent.

When you hear others spreading rumors, speak up. Lecturing others rarely works; they may resent your policing their behavior. A better tactic is to redirect them with friendly questions or comments such as “Can we talk about something important—like where we’re going for lunch?” or “That reminds me of something funny…” This does make an impact on helping employees change. The one exception is when the gossip is so malicious that you must confront it by saying, “That sounds like a rumor to me” and walk away.

If the rumor involves the head of the marketing department (for example), depersonalize the conversation by asking a related question such as, “Speaking of marketing, what do you think of our company’s advertising campaign?” Look for openings to shift the discussion to more substantive issues and you will foster trust and teamwork. The end result is a workplace respect that begins to become part of a positive work culture with mutual respect more obviously a value everyone in the workplace possesses and supports.

TIP: If you’re privy to sensitive information, rehearse with your supervisor how (and if) you should communicate it to others. Then stay “on message” so that you consistently state the same point using the same language. This works better than improvising each time and possibly revealing too much or making a misstatement.

IT’S TRUE: While managers can take steps to prevent rumors by opening lines of communication with all employees, the ultimate responsibility lies with you. You can quell gossip by leaving the room or changing the subject.  

TRUE OR FALSE: It’s okay to engage in gossip if you ask yourself, “Would I be willing to tell this face-to-face to the person I’m gossiping about?”

[FALSE: That’s like looking for an excuse to indulge in gossip! The moment you give yourself permission to talk about others behind their back, there’s no guarantee that you’ll stick with positive, non-threatening observations about them. It’s more likely that you will eventually say something that would prove hurtful to that person.]

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  • Improve morale by stopping and intervening with disrespect--literally overnight!
  • Help employees understand not just one or two, but all the areas of disrespect that often continue in organizations, unaddressed, and place companies at risk for productivity losses, absenteeism, even workplace violence
  • Gain cooperation and support from every employee and instill responsibility to set a positive example and behave in a proper manner on the job which will not offend, embarrass, or humiliate others
  • Improve the productivity of employees by stopping behaviors that breed conflict
  • Experience fewer headaches from grievances and complaints employees bring to top management or human resources due to problematic relationships on the job
  • Encourage new attitudes toward those who are different or at a disadvantage socially, occupationally, or by socioeconomic status
  • Reduce risk of employment claims and lawsuits, threatening letters from attorneys, and the legal costs associated with managing these communications
  • Reduce stress, worry, liability, and concerns your leadership and corporate officers face from risk and exposure associated with disrespect
  • Encourage employees to be proactive and "step in" to disapprove of, and discourage disrespectful behavior when they witness it among peers
  • Demonstrate employees were trained and educated in respectful workplace practices to help protect your company against punitive court actions for failure to be promote a positive workplace
  • Champion social responsibility. Demonstrate your company is ahead of the curve in dignifying all employees--be a leader in your community
  • With the web course, train all employees and retain certificates of completion that document education and awareness
  • Easily train employees--even the employees who missed live training by emailing them a hot link to the web course
  • Educate supervisors and hold them accountable for intervening in disrespect and not participating in disrespectful behavior by setting an example for others
  • Train new employees immediately, without waiting, and start them off on the right foot by helping them understand and appreciate your positive work culture and its zero tolerance for disrespect
  • Encourage diversity and positivity. Show the community that your organization values respectful behaviors, diversity, and tolerance. These are assets for any company that help them compete--while improving the reputation of your work organization in the local community
  • Gain positive publicity for respectful workplace training and lead other organizations in promoting a positive work culture
  • Reduce workplace conflicts and disrespectful behavior that jeopardize individual dignity, self-esteem, well-being, and undermine work relationships, friendships, and productivity.
  • Help employees act early to stop being disrespected
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"I just wanted to say that this product met my expectations and that we received positive feedback from several employees. General comments were that the presentation on Respect in the Workplace really cut to the root of the issues and provided great suggestions on how to respect others."  

David E. Edwards, Director
Human Resources,
Logistic Services International, Inc.,
Jacksonville, FL

Respect training for the workforce is a vital educational object not only to protect the dignity of employees, but to reduce liability and behavioral risk to your company. Whether the employer's concern is productivity or reducing violence in the workplace, respect training in the workplace and motivating employees to demonstrate mutual respect with each other can protect your bottom line and even save lives.

This product from was designed to offer employers or human resource management professionals to unique tool that would address ten different areas of concern in the form of respect videos that cover educational topics such as respecting diversity and making respect at the workplace priority.

The respectful workplace topics in this program last about three minutes each on average or a bit more. We cover what many human resource management professionals ask, "What is respect in the workplace?" and "Just what is respect, anyway?"

Mutual respect in the workplace must be part of the work culture. No matter how much your parents taught you at home about being respectful of diversity and other peoples' needs, these values can erode in a work environment that fails to reinforce mutual respect among employees.

This respect in the workplace training program does that. Employees who participate in this training program learn about dignity, private space, restraining impulsive behavior, how to criticize properly, preventing noise that disturbs the environment where other work, rejecting bullying and sexual harassment, stating opinions diplomatically, being careful of one's nonverbable behavior, and dealing with rumors in the workplace.

You will see this product positively affect employees. That is our promise.