R-E-S-P-E-C-T: I found out what it means to me
Respect. What does it mean? According to the Oxford dictionary, respect is “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.” Or “due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others.” I believe each and every one of us deserves to be treated with respect.
How important is respect in the workplace? According to Harvard Business Review, employees say respect is what matters most to them. What happens when employees are treated with disrespect? Eighty percent of those who are treated disrespectfully spend significant time ruminating about it, 48% intentionally reduce their effort, and the disrespectful behaviors spread throughout the team and to the customers. On the flip side, in a respectful environment, employees are happier, more productive, more creative, more resilient, and more loyal to their company. I agree. And, it’s pretty clear when we aren’t treated with respect. For me, that looks like having leaders who do not listen to input and feedback (especially when you are hired as the subject matter expert!), a lack of communication, an impossible amount of work to complete in unreasonable time frames, little support for my personal and professional needs, and perhaps worst, speaking for me in meetings/situations where I am not even present.
That is what was happening at my full-time job when I started working with Eleccion part time. Working at both organizations, it quickly became clear that the cultures were like night and day, and I started to notice very different feelings in myself when completing work for each organization. I dreaded sitting down at my desk and turning on my computer most mornings at my full-time job, but I was excited and happy every time I was working on a project for Eleccion. As a psychologist, these stark differences in myself were fascinating, and I started exploring why they were happening. What it boiled down to was respect, or lack thereof.
Mutual Respect is a lived value at Eleccion and is seen throughout the culture and daily operations in everything from job “titles”, to frequent and transparent communications, to language used in policies, to the inclusion of the entire workforce in strategic planning, to personal check-ins with each employee. My input is sought out and my thoughts and ideas are welcomed. As the only current remote employee, the Enabling Partners (not CEOs) ensure there are opportunities for me to be part of the community, using online communication tools and adding virtual meeting links to all meetings (which also benefits other employees who cannot make it back to the office from being on client site throughout the day). What a breath of fresh air – an organization that actually lives its values! You may be wondering what I did to resolve my situation. I decided to focus on working at Eleccion, and left the full-time job. What happened next is a continued testament to Eleccion’s culture: the Enabling Partners sought out (and continue to work on) additional opportunities for me to increase my hours and participation in their organization. Talk about feeling valued and respected, and I couldn’t be happier!