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Employee Retention Strategies—Part 1: Respect

“Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers       – Stephen R. Covey

Staffing woes will continue to plague businesses far and wide for longer than any of us would like to imagine. Here’s what we know for sure—

  • A scenario this critical doesn’t get resolved overnight.
  • So, employee retention had better become a center-stage concern.
  • And the main character on that stage will have to be respect.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, respect in the workplace is the number one contributor to job satisfaction, which points to a culture of respect as being a critical retention strategy.

It makes perfect sense. When people feel respected, they are more productive, engaged, and congenial. And… they stay put. But when the element of respect is lacking, there’s less incentive to “give it your all,” as noted by the following stats.

Of employees who don’t feel respected

  • 48% said they intentionally decrease their work effort
  • 47% said they decrease the time they spend at work
  • 38% said they reduce the quality of their work
  • 66% said their performance declines when they suffer a lack of respect


The bottom line is this: the loyalty and longevity employers seek cannot be separated from the element of respect. There’s little motivation to perform without respect but much incentive to pursue another job.

So, what does treating employees with respect look like?

  • Treating each employee the same regardless of title or position: Nothing screams disrespect more than treating people differently. Respectful behavior towards employees must be the same across the entire workforce roster.
  • Listening to and valuing an employee’s ideas and feedback: Notice “agreeing with” is not part of the above statement. Because being in agreement is not a necessary component of respect, but actively hearing and considering the potential in an employee’s opinions is.
  • Expressing and demonstrating appreciation for the employee’s work: A personal verbal or written thank you expresses appreciation. A public shout-out or group acknowledgment demonstrates that appreciation, and both spring from an attitude of respect.
  • Noticing “above and beyond” and “stepping up” efforts: This is the opposite of assuming Bob will come in on his day off or that Sue will stay late every day of her co-worker’s vacation.
  • Keeping conversations about work performance or disciplinary action behind closed doors: Reprimanding or discussing performance concerns in the company of other employees can be a humiliating experience, one that most definitely veers from respectful behavior.
  • Taking their concerns and complaints seriously: This often requires checking out the situation, seeking further verification, following up on solutions/resolutions to be sure that progress happens.


Recognizing how an obvious respectful attitude in management/employee relationships will cast a ripple effect and impact how the employees treat each other is crucial. The more respect, the more satisfaction. The more satisfaction, the greater the level of engagement, productivity, and unity. And retention rates? Satisfaction + Engagement + Team spirit = Improved Retention Rates.

The A.R. Mazzotta team understands the staffing challenges facing businesses in these post-pandemic times, and we’re ready to deliver personalized service and customized staffing solutions. So give us a call, send us a message, or stop by our offices in MiddletownWallingfordThomaston, and Westbrook.