Making people the priority in the workplace

By Suzanne Hurndall, Relationship Director at hr inspire

Barely a week has gone by in the past year without a new headline about inappropriate behaviour at work due to sex, race, gender, religion or a philosophical belief such as veganism.

Even the legal profession had double the reports of sexual misconduct over the last five years from 25 to 63 in 2018-2019 – according to a Freedom of Information request to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, reaching a record high.


While the #metoo movement has undoubtedly attributed to more employees realising they should report inappropriate behaviour, the range and scope of sex, race, gender, religion or philosophical belief misdemeanours demonstrates that there’s a big step change needed in many organisations to tackle these challenges. These challenges also have to be addressed amid the complexities of managing a multi-generational workforce where diversity includes different personalities and work styles.

Our new Respect for People programme will do just this to achieve real culture change.  Here, each Board, Senior Management Team, along with HR takes the lead on driving a respectful culture, change and positivity, and embedding it in a company’s core values to match a new era of honesty and transparency.

Culture Check

A culture check starts by taking a real look at the company’s cultural climate and its weaknesses and covers areas such as is leadership walking the talk and being respectful to all at every layer of the organisation?  Are line managers empowered with the skills and confidence to openly drive change?

How confident are employees to voice concerns, and how early? And so on, before we outline the transformative changes that will address weak spots identified in the ‘culture check’ and then how to sustain a new positive culture.

This approach is also reflective of our times – that organisations are becoming all about accountability and owning problems if they want to build a positive culture that drives engagement and performance.

Get it right and they thrive and attract the top talent and create a respectful, accountable and diverse culture which encourages openness and intolerance on issues like sexual harassment and discrimination.  And not just because employers are also legally responsible for protecting employees against bullying and harassment.

Respect for People

We know that there’s no quick fix to building long term cultural change. But when ‘Respect for People’ is embedded into the very fabric of a business it will ignite change from the top down.  When culture is regularly reviewed and refined people will become accountable for all their actions, bosses become aware they always have to lead by example. This results in an open and transparent environment that supports managers and employees.

We’ll be hosting a series of events in the coming months focusing on Respect for People, creating a more positive, engaged and productive workforce. Making people the priority in your workplace will bring rewards for all.

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