Core Values for Employees in the Psychologically Healthy Workplace – Being Respected & Valued by their Organization

Having been in the business of consulting on employee to business organizations around employee mental health & employee behavioural issues for the last 20 years the above mentioned two human values standout as weathering the test of time no matter which workplace you talk about.

1. Respect as defined in the Oxford English Reference Dictionary is the “deferential esteem felt or shown towards a person(s).” You treat them with consideration! To respect someone is to avoid interfering with, harming, degrading, insulting, injuring or interrupting someone.”

2. Valued means to have “worth, desirability, or utility of a thing or person. One’s judgment of what is valuable or important in life.”

Being respected & valued are particularly important ethical principles at this moment in the modern workplace, because workplace violence, harassment, bullying & domestic violence as it pertains to the workplace are under scrutiny & review in all first world economies.

Here in Canada, the federal government & most provinces have either passed legislation or are in the process of passing legislation to address these workplace concerns. In the United States, thirty plus states have some type of legislation (Healthy Workplace Bill) pending to address these issues in their jurisdictions. Other first world economies are also beginning to grapple with these issues.

From the employee mental health perspective; we here at Source Line say “it’s about time” these changes happened!! All the needless “twelve year old” workplace behaviour needs to stop! In all the workplaces we have consulted to over the years; we actually haven’t seen any real chronological twelve year olds on the payroll. Therefore it begs the question why do employees &/or employers have to put up with twelve year old disrespectful negative behaviour from co-workers or members of management?

One might ask what is a respectful workplace is anyway?
Well if you “Google” it you will get some 2,340,000 hits so clearly people have some ideas about what it is or looks like.

We like the definition that a respectful workplace supports the physical, psychological & social well-being of all its employees.

In a respectful workplace
• Employees are valued
• Diversity is embraced
• People are treated as they wish to be treated
• Conflict is addressed in a positive & respectful manner
• Disrespectful behaviour & harassment are addressed promptly & fairly

In our experience of consulting/counselling in workplaces not one employee I can remember has ever come to us saying they love going to work so that they can be ridiculed, threatened, harassed or otherwise be abused.

A more generic employee definition of respectful workplace is to treat others as you yourself would like to be treated.

Historically employees have put up with disrespectful workplace behaviours exhibited by their reports, co-workers or bosses because they may have felt unsupported in the workplace or received the unspoken message that raising this issue could be a “career limiting” move.

All modern workplaces have policies against bad employee behaviours but does the organization live these policies or merely have the policies on the books as required by law? The classic workplace example of same is where a high functioning & high valued employee’s flagrant disrespectful behaviour is overlooked or ignored by the organization. This type of organizational response is negative “enabling” workplace behaviour. This negative organizational enabling behaviour can quickly drain employees & the company culture of energy, engagement, creativity & loyalty.

Numerous surveys over the years have shown that employers who promote & more importantly create workplaces where employees enjoy working (feeling respected & valued) are overall more harmonious, productive & financially profitable.


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