Employee Retention – Showing Respect

Employee Retention

Showing respect to employees can have a powerful  effect on morale and performance. Employee retention can be a challenge. Whether you have a small construction crew, or office, or a large corporation, you will agree that hiring people is sometimes easier that keeping them.

There are a lot of different reasons why a person comes to work for you. Of course, a paycheck is a powerful motivation. But on occasion an employee will just quit, and sometimes it has little to do with his pay rate.

What are some of the factors that may influence whether an employee will continue working for you?

  • Schedule – work-life balance
  • Safety of work environment
  • Interactions with other employees
  • Type of work
  • Respect as a person and employee
  • Available training
  • Opportunity for advancement
  • Ability to complete assigned tasks

If we decide to terminate an employee, we usually are quite aware of why we did it. However sometimes someone will “just up and quit” and we are not sure why.

There are many reasons this can happen. Over the next few discussions we will look at some of the reasons this may happen and how to avoid losing a valuable employee. Let’s first consider showing respect.

Showing Respect

Respect the person

What does respect mean? A dictionary definition is “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements” and “due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others.”

Let’s look at this in a bit more detail. If you have a good employee, you should be able to list some of their abilities, qualities or achievements.

The first part of respect, as stated above, has to do with their abilities. What about their hard skills? They can do their job well. Their isn’t a problem with what they accomplish. They are always on time. They are good team workers, cordial and respectful toward others, whether fellow employees or clients, suppliers, etc. They have a good record of achieving their work goals, completing assignments on time.


If you have respect for them in this regard, did you tell them? Commendation should be given directly to such a valuable employee. A sincere “Thank You”, “Well Done” or “You did a great job on (project)” will be appreciated.

When a person is appreciated, they are encouraged to give their best. They will be more likely to treat others in the same fine manner as has been set by management. Often that is all the reward that is needed to motivate a person to continue doing their best.

What about the second part of the definition, “due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others.”

Showing respect for our employee as a person is important. People are not machines. They may seem to be unemotional, thick skinned, or just unaffected by how they are treated. However that is seldom the case. A person may be hiding all his negative feelings until suddenly without warning, he reacts, either by some emotional, or worst case, physical outburst, resulting in harm to himself and others around him. In other cases, they may just not come to work, quietly quitting, while seething on the inside.

Lack of Respect

Lack of respect of this type can manifest itself in a number of ways. It could be the boss, manager or foreman, who tends to belittle others to make himself look better. They may feel that the employee isn’t good enough at his job and so puts him down, when in fact no one has taken the time to train him for his work. They might even tell him he is stupid, or irresponsible, or doesn’t care enough to do his job right.

A lack of respect can be based on something that actually has nothing to do with the job. Some are treated badly because of race, nationality, or even social status. This can degrade into actual bullying causing a person to quit just to escape some abusive situation.

Improving Relations

So what can be done? Before a person quits, have they shown any indication of what is bothering them? Don’t write them off as just being a complainer, or hard to get along with. Listen. Are their issues real? Is there something that can be done to improve the situation in order to improve employee retention?

You may need to listen as they explain that you are the problem. If so, there may be things you can change that will benefit not just this individual but others in the company.

There is a lot of training available to help those in positions of management to do their job in a way that improves employee retention. Showing respect is just one of the ways mangement can benefit their business.. We may find that we have personality flaws that especially manifest themselves at work. We can change these and improve the situation for all involved.

Check out our course Respect in the Workplace to learn how to improve workplace relations.

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