Management say they have respect for employees and in many ways do. But is it falling short?
In most organizations, “respect” is a topic that gets plenty of attention. Employee handbooks state clearly that each person will respect others. So everything is understood and everyone respects everyone else, right? The thinking seems to be that if we just say it needs to happen, it will. Then why do we hear the recurring complaint from frontline employees that they do not feel respected?
Respect doesn’t just “happen” because of some section in the handbook. We may respect a title, for example, like “President” or “C.E.O.” But respecting the title a person holds is not the same as respecting that person. Perhaps we show respect for the person with the title, but we may not actually respect that person.
As stated by dictionary.com respect means: “esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: I have great respect for her judgment.” So as I understand it, this means that we give worth to how a person conducts himself or herself. The human element in the definition cannot be ignored. When we respect someone we have decided that that person has worth. We have respect because there is something about the person that we have put value on in this person.
In many businesses, the front line employees are often the first and only representatives of the company that the customer ever sees. They are the customers’ impression of the company. They are counted on and missed when they are absent. A customer will often know the names of the employees and recognize them when never knowing any of the management. They affect almost every aspect of the business and are important to its success.
So, what is the “worth” of a front line employee? When front line employees are no more than a cog in the business it is easy to treat them as such, even if it is inadvertent. The employees will feel no less, demeaned and devalued, and ultimately demotivated in spite of good intentions. In essence, as the foundation that keeps the business going, their “worth” is immeasurable. They are the ones that deal first hand with the occurrences of the day and the face to face contact with the customers. Most certainly, they deserve respect before anyone who happens to have a title. Though a title is worked for and there is certainly meirt in that, the employees are the company.
My suggestion? Notice and praise your front line employees, treat them with dignity and respect them for their critical role in the business. Let then know their worth. Let them know the service they provide and how well they are doing. Take the time to let them know. They are very worth it!
Published by: LMIT