Companies try everything to boost employee morale, such as offering rewards for productivity and bringing in speakers, but sometimes miss the most important aspect of company morale: A feeling of dignity and respect. However, giving a feeling of dignity and respect requires effort from managers and fellow co-workers, and a push to create a feeling of dignity and respect in employees before the corporate culture degrades.
Dignity and respect in the workplace follows the "golden rule" of treating others the way you want to be treated. A workplace where everyone shows each other dignity and respect usually has plenty of laughter, a free-flow of ideas and clear policies on expected work results and behavior. Healthy workplaces have a code of conduct and follow good professional practices, such as no personal attack or frivolous requests and demands.
Some of the standard protocol for dignity and respect in the workplace are federal law. Most employers and employees know this as equal employment opportunity laws. Civil rights legislation bars companies from discriminating against employees based on age, sex, race, national origin, creed, sexual orientation, membership in the Armed Forces or disability. Violating EEO laws, such as passing up an employee for a promotion because he might be too "old" to handle the work, can result in fines and investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Employees that feel their organization treats them with dignity and respect can take a company to new heights or cost the company thousands in potential profits. At least 22 million unhappy employees cost American businesses $350 billion in each in lost work because of absenteeism, illness and other problems associated with low morale, according to a 2002 Gallup study.
Communication is key to improving employee morale and giving them a feeling of dignity and respect. When an employee does an excellent job give him positive feedback and recognition. Also, offer employees an opportunity for career growth—which is often more important to an employee than a paycheck. Listen to employee suggestions and support employees during times of stress. Most importantly, do these things before you have a culture of disengaged employees who only do enough to keep their job.