Disrespect — followed by a lack of work-life balance, overtime and managerial support — is one of the leading factors for workplace stress in India, according to a recent report from Chestnut Global Partners India and SHRM India.
The problem isn’t limited to India alone. U.S. employees ranked respect as the most important job quality in a 2014 survey co-produced by the Harvard Business Review; and U.K. employees also value dignity and respect most, according to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas).
Work-related stress can have an extremely detrimental effect. Studies have shown workplace stress has increased in the past few decades and is currently the main source of stress for American adults, with known associations to increased heart attack, hypertension and other illness rates, according to the American Institute of Stress.
In Europe, 50 to 60 percent of all lost working days are attributed to work-related stress, according to the International Labour Organization, indicating workplace stress results in a significant human and economic cost.
In fast-paced, competitive environments, work-related stress can be difficult to completely eliminate. Deadlines need to met; goals are often necessary and employees may be fueled — and, at the same time, frazzled — by a desire to advance professionally.
Companies can, however, take steps to reduce disrespect in the workplace, lessening the chance it will lead to workplace stress — such as:
- Communicate a common goal. Research from Gallup has found employees who understand what their contribution to an organization means are more likely to stay with the company and have higher productivity. Underscoring the company’s overall mission and purpose — and employees’ connection to it — can help workers feel respected, and it's one of the most effective ways to retain millennials, Gen X employees and baby boomers.
- Offset work-related stress with recognition. By letting employees know they are appreciated, employee recognition programs can provide substantial workplace stress-reducing — and other — benefits. Sixty-one percent of companies that measured their programs’ ROI found recognition efforts helped increase employee engagement.
- Sixty-three percent saw productivity increase, and 58 percent experienced a higher profit margin return, according to research from Globoforce and the Society for Human Resource Management. (For tips on creating an effective employee recognition program, read our recent blog post.)
- Make sure managers understand the potential gains. Managers may not realize the effect acknowledging employee contributions on a regular basis can have. The Harvard Business Review’s survey found employees who get respect from their leaders have 56 percent better health and well-being (likely resulting in fewer sick days and potential productivity delays); 89 percent higher job satisfaction and enjoyment (which can reduce the chance for work-related stress); 92 percent greater focus and prioritization — and were 55 percent more engaged and 1.1 times more likely to stay with their organization.
Targeting disrespect in the workplace is just one way to decrease work-related stress.
For additional tips on effectively tackling workplace stress, view our recent blog posts on respecting employees’ time off, making relocation work, the 3 things your employee engagement program needs and employee retention strategies that really work.