Employee benefits are often viewed as the difference between hiring and retaining top talent or watching the best in the business take jobs elsewhere. Benefits are important, but they only make up one aspect of what companies can do to maintain long-term relationships with their employees. Unfortunately, there are many intangibles that are difficult to quantify.
Respect is one such intangible. It is no less important than any of the tangible benefits that made BenefitMall’s list of 5 Benefit Trends to Watch in 2020. You can even make the case that respect is more important than things like employee wellness programs and student loan reduction benefits.
It all boils down to how employees are treated. Do managers treat employees like human beings with thoughts, emotions, and worthwhile contributions? Or are employees treated like nothing more than human resources little different from any other resources?
The Retail Example
The need for respect knows no industry boundaries. A lack thereof manifests itself differently from one industry to the next. In retail, the effects are observed in the industry’s turnover rate. According to the Society for Human Resources Management, turnover in the retail sector is in excess of 60%.
That means six in every 10 retail employees will not stick around for even a year. This creates a nightmare for managers who are constantly having to hire and train new team members. Wouldn’t it be better to work on retaining employees instead? Of course it would. But before an organization can do so, it has to admit why turnover is so high.
Among the many complaints voiced by retail employees is inconsistent scheduling. Employee schedules change from one week to the next, making it nearly impossible for them to schedule any other area of life. Inconsistent scheduling makes childcare a nightmare, for example.
Inconsistent scheduling shows a lack of respect for employees as human beings with lives outside of work. Employees know it. They know that if management doesn’t respect their schedules, the boss is unlikely to show the respect anywhere else.
When Customers Get Abusive
Another big complaint among retail workers rests in management unwilling to support them when customers become abusive. Unfortunately, 50 years of the ‘customer is always right’ mentality has given rise to a new generation of consumers who believe it is their right to abuse retail employees.
When management steps up and backs the employee, it shows the employee a measure of respect. The opposite is also true. When managers take the side of abusive customers on the false notion that customers can never be wrong, they show a clear lack of respect for employees.
A Two-Way Street
There are other ways a lack of respect manifests itself in the workplace. What must be understood is that respect is a two-way street. Management has a reasonable expectation that employees will show them the proper respect. This is right and just. But holding a management position does not give one license to treat subordinates with disrespect.
We often say that respect is earned rather than given. If managers expect team members to earn their respect through hard work, reliance, etc., they should expect no less from themselves. They should earn the respect of their employees by treating them well.
Health insurance is a great employee benefit. A retirement plan can go a long way toward securing an employee’s future. Equally important to all those tangible benefits are the intangibles like respect. Companies that do not show their employees even a basic amount of respect should plan on high turnover rates. That is the way the world works.