As a member of SHRM, I’ve had the opportunity to read many interesting and insightful articles featured on their website.  I want to mention one recent piece that really resonated with me. In Why Respect, Dignity and Kindness Are Foundational Workplace Principles, Raquelle Solon discusses the importance of creating a welcoming work environment free of hostility. One of the primary reasons I enjoyed this article is because it explains how we, as HR professionals, can act proactively to prevent hostility by treating people with respect, dignity, and kindness.


On The Three Principles:

The author presents a scenario to help explain the importance of respect, dignity, and kindness. Solon tells the story of a new manager who joins the office and spreads his negativity, harshness, and lack of respect to other employees in the office. As a result, several employees choose to leave the new manager’s team, and others begin to take on some of the new manager’s qualities. The author reveals that the new manager’s “overwhelming negativity threw a wrench into a once strong team and threatened to break it down into an unproductive group of individuals.”

The scenario described in the last paragraph spotlights how a lack of respect, dignity, and kindness can destroy office relations and productivity.  Could this situation have been avoided? I totally agree with Solon’s affirmative answer to that question.


“When building a team, it is important to establish respect, dignity and kindness as foundational principles. This will very likely increase productivity and reduce the risk of violent workplace behaviors. When employees feel respected and treated with dignity, they are more likely to treat co-workers and customers the same way.”


Utilizing these values leads to a much more civilized and pleasant work environment and in my opinion, results in more cooperation, teamwork, and involvement by employees.  As stated in the article, focusing on respect, dignity and kindness is also a great foundation for a positive company culture.

It’s also essential, in my opinion,  that we “walk the walk,” rather than just “talk the talk” about respect, dignity and kindness. Solon suggests that we work hard to put these principles into practice: “They [HR] should also explain how to do so, and demonstrate what civility means to the organization by providing examples of positive interactions.”  

We, as HR professionals, play an integral role in helping to create and maintain positive and productive work environments. I wholeheartedly believe that respect, dignity and kindness are fundamental and essential values we need to articulate and practice if we are going to succeed in our role.